Since the Texas electricity industry was deregulated in 2002, the majority of Texans have the power to choose their retail electric provider (REP). Here’s how to switch electricity providers in three easy steps and what to expect when switching, which is a simple, straightforward process.
Before we get into how to change providers and what to expect, you should first know that there is no interruption of service when you switch electricity providers.
The only thing changing when you choose another REP is the business that’s selling you power, not the company that maintains the poles and wires delivering electricity to you. Your electricity will continue to function as it does now during and after the transition.
First, you need to find out if you’re in a deregulated zone and can choose a provider. To do this, visit the Public Utility Commission’s website, PowerToChoose.org, and enter your ZIP code.
Once you’re sure that you have the option to switch electricity providers, research the REPs in your area.
Some criteria to consider:
- Fixed-rate vs. variable plans
- Length of contract – one month, six months, one year, etc.
- Monthly fees – Do they charge you if you want to speak to a live agent? Are there reconnect or disconnect fees?
You’ll also want to find out if you’re currently in a contract, how much time you have left in the contract and what the cancellation fee is. Then, do some math to determine if breaking your current agreement will pay off in the long run.
You’ll be comparing the termination fee to potential savings if you switch now. If the potential savings is higher, then it pays to break your current agreement and switch electricity providers.
2. Make the call to switch
Call the Texas retail electricity provider that you’d like to do business with or visit their website to sign up. You’ll provide details about when you would like to change. If calling, you can expect it to take about 10-15 minutes.
The provider will then handle the rest for you, including sending you a contract. You have three business days to review it and cancel it without incurring any cost.
3. Receive confirmation from ERCOT
ERCOT is the Electric Reliability Counsel of Texas, which manages the power flow for the majority of Texas and makes sure there’s enough electricity for Texans.
The confirmation from ERCOT of your new provider will come in the form of a postcard. If the information on the mailing is correct, you do nothing. If it’s incorrect, you will have three business days to call the number listed and resolve the situation.
Switching retail electricity providers in Texas really is as simple as 1-2-3.