I hate Gimmicks, unfortunately, for the most part nearly every single electric provider in Texas, or at least my region seems to be resorting to silly gimmicks to make their plans look cheap on the state “PowerToChoose.com” website. Various tricks are used…primarily minimum usage fees, credits for hitting thresholds, and a few even simply charge you a fixed fee for everything up to 2,000 KwH…then an outrageous price for every KwH over that. If you use over 2,000 in a month, you get screwed, and if you use under 2,000 you get screwed, but if you can manage to nail 2000 on the dot you might just get a pretty good deal.
I am going to pick on Reliant because they are one of the biggest names, and because they sent me a mailer promising a $600 bonus cash for switching to them. “Get a Low Price and a Big $600 Bonus*” says the mailer. $600 is a lot of dough, and the advertisement was short on details, so of course I had to dig a little deeper. The bottom line is, it is a 2 year plan with a fixed rate of about 11.6 cents per Kwh. Now…that may not seem too high for some areas….but my old plan just ended and I ended up signing up recently with Discount Power…a 3 year rate lock at about 7.6 cents a kwh…..though they did have a 2 year plan at the same rate.
Of course, there is no $600 cash back, but now you can see why Reliant can offer such a silly gimmick…their per KwH price is 53% higher(11.6 vs 7.6)….no wonder they had to add the * disclaimer after the “Get a Low Price”. Pencil that out, say you average 2,000 KwH per month over 24 months x 4 cents extra per….and your price is $1,920 more….but then let us back out the generous $600 “gift”, and the total cost is $1,320 higher over 2 years, or $55 a month. If you want to donate an extra $55 a month to Reliant by all means go for it.
Of course, your results may vary depending on actual usage, zip code etc….and as noted, Reliant is far from being the only provider playing gimmicky games….in fact most are worst in my opinion because they make it so complicated you have to build an excel model just to figure out your likely cost. Fun for me maybe, but just sneaky tricks to most.
So Kuddos to Discount Power for resisting the urge to use gimmicks to screw over their customers. If you like to play games and waste a lot of time constantly monitoring your hourly electric usage, I’m sure you can probably find a gimmicky plan that you can play and pay a little less. Just remember…always start with the Texas PowerToChoose.com web site for links to the best deals…and be careful out there….it’s been my experience that every single power provider in Texas is just waiting for your contract to end so they can double your price….so you basically have to switch or get screwed….that’s why I prefer the longer contracts….who has time to play these silly games every few months?
**Whoops…spoke to soon….it looks like Discount Power also has some Gimmicky plans…like this one…the Easy-12…which has a very low rate of 6.6 cents per KwH for your first thousand, then over 16 cents for anything over that…so the more you use, your average gets pulled up with it. Now obviously…for some users this may not be a bad deal….but if you live in Houston, the odds are your electric needs in the summer are about 3X winter demand, and the odds of you nailing 1000 KwH a month consistently are pretty close to 0. Good luck out there and be careful….looks to me like there are no good guys :(…