Driven in part by local mandates to shift to green-energy sources, the movement has gained momentum across the country, allowing customers to choose their electricity provider, as they can do with telephone service. A growing number of California’s local governments are offering a program similar to the Cape Cod model, as are communities in New York State, Illinois and other parts of Massachusetts.
Once you're a customer, you can monitor your usage and billing information using your online account dashboard and the Reliant Weekly Summary Email. Your online account makes it easy to pay your bill, check usage, update personal information or get details about special offers. You can also opt in to features like AutoPay, paperless billing and average billing to help save time and money when paying your bill. You may also be eligible for Degrees of Difference, which gives you a bill credit when you reduce your usage during designated high-demand time periods.
Keeping on top: With deregulation, a whole host of electric resellers jumped into the market because there’s a whole lot of electricity to sell: if Texas were a country, it’d be the 11th largest electricity consumer in the world! Just by itself, it uses as much electricity as Spain or Great Britain! That means there’s a whole lot of information you have to find, absorb, and process to make sure you’re getting the best rate for your needs.
Early in 2002, legislation known as Senate Bill 7, changed the energy market by deregulating the sales and pricing of electricity plans. This bill included the Irving area. While a single utility company still transports electricity from the plant to homes, residents of Irving can now choose what company sells them their electricity plan. These sales companies are known as energy suppliers.
San Diego Gas and Electric, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, is one of California’s three big shareholder-owned utilities, along with Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison. Together they serve about 70 percent of California’s electricity customers and have been raising concerns about the impact of government-run utility programs on their businesses.
Residential and business consumers in deregulated energy markets have the power to choose their energy supplier. The power to choose gives consumers the opportunity to compare suppliers and find energy plans that satisfy their usage needs and budget requirements. Whether in a deregulated city in Texas, New York, Ohio or another state, you can shop for electricity or natural gas and find the best plan for you!
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.
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.
Then, in 2002, Texas deregulated the electricity market and everybody cheered! Except that, sure, deregulation opened up the market to competition that may (or may not) have resulted in lower rates, but it introduced a whole host of other issues. These issues may not have been factors before but now they’re critical when you’re on the look-out for cheap Houston electricity providers.
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How does energy deregulation in Irving help the consumer? Due to competition among supplier companies, electricity prices in Irving have fallen. In fact, prices in deregulated parts of Texas are cheaper than America's average. By browsing for the cheapest rate or most desirable plan, customers in Irving can easily reduce the cost of their monthly electricity bill. Check out how you can lower your energy supply rate.
Mr. Brown and members of the Clear the Air Coalition also contend that similar government-run utility programs are not producing new alternative-energy projects as they promise. They noted that the utility produced 45 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources, and argued that community choice programs achieved their climate-friendly goals through purchases of clean energy credits rather than actual generation.
Around 85% of Texas residents must choose an electricity provider. Utility companies transmit and distribute electricity to customers. But that electricity doesn’t come from a utility—it comes from companies known as Retail Electric Providers. These providers offer competitive plans based on electricity pricing, term length, renewable sourcing and more.