It’s hard to believe it just a few weeks before the official start of the Fall/Autumn season. If you are like most Texans it is a welcomed reprieve from the battering Summer months electricity bills. With the average Texas resident paying a whopping 11.10 cents per kWh, it’s easy to understand why many Texas families look forward to the off-peak Fall months.
But if the average retail electricity price being offered in Texas is 8.44 cents per kWh why are so many families overpaying for electricity?
It all can be boiled down to 5 simple reasons.
Shopping for electricity can be painful
Texas has 52 retail electricity providers offering residential plans in Texas. Yes…that’s right 52. To put that into perspective, when you go shopping for mobile phone service the most you will likely choose between is likely 10. (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Virgin Wireless, Cricket and the other guys) Most of them do mass marketing so it is easy to find them on TV, radio or even internet banner ads. But have you seen an ad for Bounce Energy while watching the latest episode of Empire, Criminal Minds or Scandal? How about Summer Energy? Probably not but they boast some of the most aggressive and innovative products in the industry. But who has time to Google all 52 providers and sift through hundreds of rates and products? Not many people will or do.
We Hate Change
Even though we have had the Power To Choose in most parts of Texas since 2002, there are as many as 500,000 Texas residents who literally have never switched from their default electricity provider in 2002. They also are probably also still using a Walk Man, Commodore 64 and writing handwritten letters to all of their friends.
Talking about your electricity rate is taboo
If you use Facebook or Twitter you probably have noticed your friends and family rarely, if ever, talk about their electricity rate. Yes… we will talk about how much we saved by couponing on 24 cans of Beanie Weenies but won’t share the great news about how much we saved on our electricity rates. Why is this? Is it because we all have friends or relatives who work for Reliant, TXU or Direct Energy and we don’t want to offend any of them by discussing a competitors rate? Probably not. It is more likely that most people don’t feel comfortable in their choice. Electricity rates constantly move. Because electricity is generated in Texas by either natural gas, coal or the wind which are all traded commodities (Yes like the stock market..Yikes) the rate you see today could be higher or lower 10 days from now. Who wants to celebrate and share they got a 2 yr contract with Champion Energy for 8.1 cents per kWh last month when the rate now is 7.5 cents per kWh. Ohh the pain.
We just don’t understand how electricity sales work
In a recent electricity poll, we asked 10,000 electricity residents how comfortable they were in understanding how to save money on their electricity rates. A mind boggling 34% said they would consider themselves very confident they knew how to save money on their electricity bills. And why such a low number? 82% said they didn’t really understand the offers. Whether it’s too many fees, tiered rates requiring them to use crazy amounts of electricity to see the advertised rate or month to month rates that change more than Texas weather.
Electricity providers have become much more complex in the products they sell, so this is partly to blame. In the old days, the State of Texas just sent you a bill and you just paid it. No thought was necessary, but OMG the rates were out of style.
Procrastination just feels better
Let’s just be honest there are certain things we have to endure that we just don’t like doing.
- Doing our taxes
- Folding clothes/unloading the dishwasher
- Going to the dentist
- Going to the TXDPS Office to renew our licenses (Even if it is only every few years
- Thinking about electricity providers
Yep, that sounds about right.