The local electric company is the utility – that’s the company who owns the infrastructure, including the poles and power lines that deliver electricity to your home. They are who you call if your power goes out or there's an emergency. But in almost every city in Texas, you must choose another company to supply that energy, called a Retail Electric Provider (REP). These REPs, like Spark Energy, allow you to choose electricity plans that offer competitive prices and plans to meet your needs.

Deregulation restructured the way the energy industry functions. Think of the energy industry in three steps: sales, transmission and delivery. Previously, all three steps were carried out by one single Irving wires company (or utility service). While the primary utility company still carries out the transmission of energy and delivery to residences, the responsibility for selling the energy plans has been opened up to competition among supplier companies. These suppliers attempt to win business from Irving residents by offering cheaper rates and better plan terms.
Customers with many different needs, homes and lifestyles go to Reliant to find the right electricity plan. Whether you’re a sports fan or world traveler, you can get rewarded for paying your electricity bill. We run specials throughout the year and offer plans that let you save money when you use electricity on the evenings or weekends. If you're looking for an eco-friendly option, check out our wind power and solar sell back plans. 
Texas deregulated most of the state's electricity markets in 2002, a move aimed at lowering electricity costs by letting consumers choose their own electric power providers and their own plans. Some parts of Texas continued to be regulated, including those whose power is proved by municipally-owned utilities, electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities that operate outside the state's primary power grid.

If you spend most of your leisure time out of the house, none of these plans will do much for your bottom line. But if home is your favorite place to be, you could profit. Based on the estimates of energy companies, most people use about 31% of their total energy on the weekends. If you go through the average 1,000 kWh per month, you'll get about 310 kWh for free. Using data compiled by the EIA, we estimated 30% of average total energy is also used during evenings (including weekend evenings), working out to about 300 free kWh.
If you would rather have a steady rate and not think about twice about starting a load of laundry at 6:30pm versus 7:30pm, Direct Energy’s standard, 12-month, fixed-rate plan Live Brighter runs at an affordable 7.99 cents per kWh. Again, using 1,000 kWh per month would add up to a yearly total of $958.80 — higher than both Free Nights and Free Weekends, but also a lot simpler.
You can organize and shop by pricing at YOUR individual usage level, which allows you to shop and compare energy plans based on the rates you’ll actually see appear on your bill, inclusive of taxes and hidden fees. You won’t be mislead by the “teaser rates” tied with higher usage levels that many homes never experience, as their usage level never reaches that pricing tier.
VELCO is one of 7 utilities accredited as a Right-of-Way Steward for our integrated vegetation management practices. Recently, the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) produced a video to highlight the work of utility environmental stewards, including our VELCO team. Come take a journey through compatible, biodiverse, pollinator rich, stable, plant communities across the nation in UAA’s first Environmental Stewardship showcase video. View Video »
Knowing how much electricity you use each month is important to finding the cheapest electricity plan. For Houstonians, usage is typically the lowest in the winter and highest in the summer. Your specific usage levels can be determined by simply looking back at previous electric bills and finding the kWh used. To avoid electric bill surprises during the peak summer months, you’ll need to accurately know your peak electricity usage which typically occurs in August.
Anyone on a standard rate tariff is at risk of seeing rising energy bills – so one of the best ways to protect from energy price increases is to switch to a fixed rate tariff. This means that for the duration of the deal, the cost of your energy and gas will be fixed. You may be able to switch to a cheaper fixed price tariff at any point, or you may have to pay a fee if you switch before the end of the deal – so check your paperwork.
To skirt the late summer electricity rate hikes, a little bit of planning can really pay off. Try to avoid signing new long-term electricity contracts in late summer. While it may be impossible to escape signing a new electricity contract if you’re moving during that time, just know that a short-term plan may make more sense until the rates go back down in the fall.  That way you’re not stuck paying a premium rate for an entire year or more.
With moderate fluctuations taken into account, the variable plans is still cheaper. Our bill is approximately $10 more in the winter, but we’d still save $138 over the course of a year. It’s more a question of whether you can roll with the punches of an unpredictable rate, or would sleep easier knowing your bill is going to look the same month after month.
1Home services, home warranty and commercial generator offer, installation and maintenance are provided by Reliant Energy Retail Services LLC dba Reliant, a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. Zero-down and third-party financing is subject to credit approval. A limited warranty on each generator is provided by the respective manufacturer of each generator. Reliant Energy Retail Services LLC is in no way affiliated with the generator manufacturers and except for optional maintenance plans or extended warranties that may be purchased, Reliant Energy Retail Services makes no additional representations or warranties of any kind with respect to the generators or the manufacturer’s products or services. See terms and conditions for specific warranty details. Services provided by Reliant Energy Retail Services LLC dba Reliant, a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. TACLB23923E. Regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, TX 78711, 1-800-803-9202, 512-463-6599, © 2018 Reliant Energy Retail Holdings, LLC All rights reserved.
Features like AutoPay and average billing help save you time and money when you're paying your bill. And if you ever have issues with your electricity plan or your bill that you can't solve alone, you can contact our award-winning customer care center through online chat or by phone. We care about you and are available 24/7 to answer any questions you might have about your home electricity account. 

Another unwelcome side effect of not knowing your average monthly kWh usage level is that you may end up paying more than you expect. This can occur when a customer inadvertently shops an electric rate based on a higher usage level than they actually use. Electricity suppliers commonly advertise their electric rates associated with the highest (2000 kWh) usage levels since those tend to be the lowest rates.
Deregulation restructured the way the energy industry functions. Think of the energy industry in three steps: sales, transmission and delivery. Previously, all three steps were carried out by one single Irving wires company (or utility service). While the primary utility company still carries out the transmission of energy and delivery to residences, the responsibility for selling the energy plans has been opened up to competition among supplier companies. These suppliers attempt to win business from Irving residents by offering cheaper rates and better plan terms.
The electric power industry is commonly split up into four processes. These are electricity generation such as a power station, electric power transmission, electricity distribution and electricity retailing. In many countries, electric power companies own the whole infrastructure from generating stations to transmission and distribution infrastructure. For this reason, electric power is viewed as a natural monopoly. The industry is generally heavily regulated, often with price controls and is frequently government-owned and operated. However, the modern trend has been growing deregulation in at least the latter two processes.[5]
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