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Which One Should You Pick? Direct Energy or Reliant?

direct energy reviews texas

If you live in Texas and are looking for a new electricity retailer, you may have heard about Direct Energy and Reliant Energy. As both are well-established companies with a strong presence in the Texas electricity market, you may be curious to find out more and find out which of these can help lower your electricity bill. Let’s read on and learn more about these two electric retailers. 

What Is an Energy Provider?

An energy provider is a company you purchase electricity from. An energy provider buys electricity in the wholesale electricity market and then sells it to residential customers such as yourself. Your energy provider can purchase electricity coming from any source: non-renewable or renewable sources. 

An energy provider, or a power provider, is not the same as an electric utility, so it is important to understand the difference. A utility company is a company that is in charge of maintaining the power grid and transmitting the energy through the grid to your house. A portion of your energy bill always goes to the electric utility, no matter who your energy provider is. 

Direct Energy

Direct Energy is a retail energy provider offering a variety of energy plans. Based in Houston, Direct Energy is a part of the NRG Group and is widely recognized as a reliable energy provider in the Lone Star State. 

Electricity Rates

Needless to say, Direct Energy has some of the most attractive energy plans on the market. Unlike some other energy providers, free nights are available as a plan, not an add-on. The same goes for free weekends. Here are the top five cheapest Direct Energy plans: 

Plan Name Electric RateContract Term
Live Brighter 1K+ 36$0.0125 per kWh36 Months 
Bright Choice $0.0135 per kWhNo Contract
Green Texas 24$0.0139 per kWh24 Months
Live Brighter 16$0.0139 per kWh16 Months
Free Power Weekends 24 Plus (+$320 in gift card)$0.0149 per kWh24 Months 

Types of Energy Plans

As one of the largest energy suppliers in Texas, Direct Energy stands aside from its competition with a number of energy plan types that you can choose from. Before making your choice, make sure you understand exactly what kind of service you get with each of these plans. You should also have a fairly good understanding of your energy usage and energy habits. 

Fixed-Rate Energy Plans 

Fixed-Rate energy plans offered by Direct Energy are plans that allow you to fix the energy rate at which you purchase electricity. This means that irrelevant of how much energy you use in a month, your electricity rate will stay the same. These plans also include an early termination fee, so make sure you understand all the pros and cons of these plans before signing your contract. 

Variable-Rate Energy Plans 

A variable-rate plan allows you to save money during the cold part of the year. As the power is cheaper during the winter months, you will pay less for your power bill. As it goes, these plans also make you pay more during the summer, when the entire state starts running their ACs

Green Energy Plans 

Green Energy plans offer you the peace of mind of knowing you’re using renewable energy. Besides the benefits for the environment, choosing Direct Energy Green Energy plans means also taking a step forward to the future of energy generation. Renewable energy is secured for you mostly in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs), which Direct Energy purchases on your behalf. 

Free Electricity Energy Plans

Free electricity energy plans offer no charge on the power usage during certain periods of the day or the week. These include either free electricity during the night or during weekends. Always check the electricity facts label, as some retail energy suppliers get shady with free Texas electricity. 

Services Offered

Direct Energy is very clear about its goals. Direct Energy works hard to make your life easier and to give you the right information when you need it. Besides the standard energy package, Direct Energy also offers some more services which you may find useful: 

  • Weekly emails with energy use statements, 
  • Online account management, 
  • Excellent Customer Service, 
  • Protection for AC / Plumbing and Electrical System, 
  • Help-Neighbors-in-Need program, which allows you to help out fellow Texans in need. 

Customer Reviews

An important aspect of looking for the best energy supplier is to check the experience of existing customers in your ZIP code area. As no two power providers are the same, their offices may be different as well. Customer reviews of Direct Energy are mostly positive, and they refer to fair pricing and a quick job in switching. An occasional bad comment is nothing to frown upon, especially as a dissatisfied customer is more likely to leave a review than a satisfied customer. 

Contact Information

Direct Energy takes good care of its customers, so it is always available for any questions or issues with electricity or natural gas to be resolved. Here is how to contact Direct Energy: 

  • Via phone: 
    • Sign Up: 888-713-3849, 
    • Billing: 888-305-3828, and 
    • Prepaid Customers: 877-866-6601, and 
  • Via online chat: just follow this link

Reliant Energy

Reliant Energy is one of the largest energy providers in the deregulated part of the grid in Texas. Reliant delivers electricity to more than one million Texas residents and is here to stay. The company’s popularity increases over time as this Houston-based energy giant takes great care of its customers. 

Electricity Rates

Reliant offers dozens of power plans in Texas. Choosing the best one can take a lot of time and effort, so we did a bit of research for you. Here are the top five most popular (and affordable) energy plans offered by Reliant in Texas. 

Plan Name Electric RateContract Term
Get More, Save More 36$0.115 per kWh36 Months 
Digital Discount 24$0.129 per kWh24 Months
Get More, Save More 24$0.135 per kWh24 Months
Learn & Conserve 24$0.135 per kWh24 Months
Clear Flex $0.139 per kWh VariableNo Contract 

Types of Energy Plans

Reliant offers a number of types of energy plans. These include fixed-rate and variable rate plans, green energy plans, and free nights and free weekends. Let’s read on to learn more. 

Fixed-Rate Energy Plans 

Fixed-rate energy plans enable Texas residents to lock in their energy rates for the contract term. Usually, you can lock in your rate for a period of 3-60 months. This is the safest pricing and is recommended for any resident who would like to purchase their energy from Reliant. 

Variable-Rate Energy Plans 

Variable-rate plans allow you to save money, unlike fixed-rate plans. These plans save money for you by enabling you to pay a lower energy rate when the consumption is lower. This is generally during the wintertime, as energy rates get much lower than in the summer. 

Green Energy Plans 

Green Energy plans allow consumers to power their homes using renewable energy. Besides helping mitigate climate change and increase their energy independence, green energy plans help boost the economy and open many new jobs. Green power does come at a premium but is getting cheaper year after year. 

Free Electricity Energy Plans 

Reliant Energy also offers free electricity in the form of their Truly Free Nights and Truly Free Weekends. This means that you will not be charged for energy used during this time of the day. However, some retailers charge this usage as well if it is higher than the daily energy use, so make sure to check out the electricity facts label and avoid any surprises. 

Prepay Plans

A prepaid plan allows you to pay for your electricity in advance. This gives you more stability and ensures that there are no surprises on your monthly bill. All you need to know is how much energy you use each month and prepay that same amount. There is no deposit and no contract term with these energy plans. 

Services Offered

As Relient is one of the retail providers that focus on customer satisfaction, it offers many additional services besides power delivery. Energy usage stats, a more in-depth understanding of your monthly usage, and other electricity facts are a part of the standard package that Reliant offers. Some of the additional services include: 

  • Weekly summary email, 
  • Account alerts, 
  • AutoPay for those too busy to make that trip to the post office, 
  • Average Monthly Billing, 
  • Reliant+ Google Nest, and 
  • Reliant App for more control over your energy use. 

Customer Reviews

Reliant Energy customer reviews are mostly positive. A lot of them praise the company’s customer service and attention to detail. As one of the largest providers in Texas, Reliant Energy understands the task at hand and ensures that customers are satisfied. Their customer support is quick to answer and resolve issues for you. 

Contact Information

As Reliant Energy is open to new and existing customers, it is worth noting how you can contact them. There are several ways to contact Reliant Energy: 

Direct Energy vs Reliant: Which One to Choose?

Direct Energy is an NRG company. It is based in Houston, TX, and is known for its reliable service. Direct Energy plans are very affordable, and the company covers a large portion of the deregulated energy market in Texas. With Direct Energy, you can choose a fixed or a variable-rate plan, optional free electricity, and renewable energy. In case you’re not satisfied with the service, you can opt-out 30 days after beginning service. 

Reliant Energy is another large power provider in Texas. Based in Houston, Texas, Reliant Energy is known for its great customer support and online bill payments. Some of the pros of choosing Reliant Energy include free power transfer when moving (if moving to the area covered by Reliant – just enter the ZIP code to check). For more diversity, Reliant also offers energy plans with indexed-rate. 

Retail Energy ProviderOnline Chat24/7 Customer ServiceUsage AlertsMobile AppCustomer IncentivesHome ServicesCommunity Outreach
Direct Energy
Reliant Energy

How To Determine the Best Electric Company?

As there seem to be as many best electric companies as there are electric companies themselves, we always pay special attention to evaluating every new electricity company. In doing so, we take into account a number of factors we deem important. Here are the factors that you, too, should pay attention to when looking for a new energy supplier: 

  1. Plans Offered, 
  2. Affordable Pricing, 
  3. Financial Stability, 
  4. Business Status, 
  5. Hidden Fees, and 
  6. Customer Support.

Plans Offered

As no two customers are the same, a variety of energy plans is a must. Cheap rates are also welcome, but having free electricity or even a Google Nest Smart Thermostat is welcome even more. These freebies come with certain plans, and having a variety to choose from is as important as ever. 

Affordable Pricing

Your electric rate should always be clear and easy to check and should not be too expensive. You should understand your monthly usage and have the right choice for your energy needs. Luckily, all providers in Texas display energy rates based on a three-tier system: 500 kWh, 1,000 kWh, and 2,000 kWh. 

Financial Stability

The financial stability of a power supplier is an important factor to consider. Check your ZIP code and see which companies work in the area. Ask yourself about how long they’ve been in the business, whether they belong to a larger group and how diversified energy sources they use are. Other things to take into account are its profit margins and the number of states they work in. 

Business Status

Check the way they do their business as well. You should pay attention to how many ways to contact them you have. A reputable company will be available online and on the phone. Online contact only may point out some fishy practices or a virgin company. Ensure that they work at night and on the weekends as well. 

Hidden Fees

Hidden fees are a big headache whenever you start looking for a new energy supplier. These hidden fees can significantly increase your effective electric rate, so always ask for an EFL. Find the reviews online and see what others have to say – do not give up after a single bad review, as the number of satisfied customers can still be very high. 

Customer Support

Good customer support is the foundation stone of a good energy business. As this is the first contact you make with a company, pay attention to how knowledgeable their staff is. Are they informative or plain sales? Do they go out of their way to ensure a good power supply and a reliable service? 

How To Switch Energy Providers?

If you’ve done your research and would like to switch your provider, doing so is as easy as giving them a call and asking to be switched. To switch in no time and spare yourself a headache, make sure that all your bills with the previous energy provider have been paid out and that you have no outstanding balance. Give your new provider sufficient time (around three weeks) to do the switch for you and start paying less on your energy bill. 

How Does Texas Deregulation Work?

Texas deregulation took place back in 2002. In order to lower the average price of electricity per kilowatt-hour, the state decided to offer the electricity market to private companies. This meant that the number of retail providers could now enter the market and compete for their share of residential customers. The state of Texas now has only an observatory and regulatory role, mostly through ERCOT – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas. 

There are many benefits that energy deregulation brings to both residential and commercial customers. Some of those include: 

  • A variety of energy plans to choose from, 
  • Switching providers become one of the rights of every resident of the deregulated area of Texas, 
  • Better customer support, 
  • Increased competition in the market, leading to competitive rates, free weekends and free nights
  • The ability to choose between different electricity tiers based on your monthly usage. 

What Is Power To Choose Texas?

If you are switching your power provider or are moving in and would like to start an energy service, you can be confused by the sheer offer online. With dozens of providers and a great multitude of choices, it can be difficult to choose. Luckily, services such as Power to Choose and Electricrate are here to take over a part of the research job. Here, you can see a plethora of search and filter options that will help you find the perfect plan for you in no time. 

Other Top Energy Providers in Texas

As there are dozens of power providers offering Texas electricity, we’ve done a bit of research to make your job easier. We’ve compiled a list of the top power providers working in the state and will give you some details about them below. Read on to learn more about retail electricity providers and to be able to choose the best for your pocket. 

4Change Energy

4Change Energy is one of the best retail electricity companies in Texas. The company was established back in 2001 and is known for its diverse energy plans and its charitable contributions to 4 Texas causes. Among others, this electricity provider also helps cancer-fighting families, as well as feeding the poor. 

Cirro Energy

Cirro Energy has been an electricity provider in Texas since 2001. So far, they’ve gathered over 150,000 satisfied customers who enjoy affordable electricity rates offered through a variety of electricity plans. Cirro Energy also offers online and mobile account management and a number of payment options for all those too busy to wait in lines in a post office just to send a single check every month. 

Discount Power

Discount Power retail electricity supplier is the perfect company for you if you think that your electricity bill could be lower. As one of the newer players in the energy market (established in 2008), the company now provides electricity to a wide area of Texas and offers a variety of perks, such as free nights, renewable energy plans, and flexible electricity bill payment options. 

First Choice Power

First Choice Power is one of the best electric companies in Texas. First Choice Power offers a number of electricity plan options, including renewable energy plans, fixed and variable-rate plans, free electricity, and no-deposit energy plans. If you are thinking about switching to First Choice Power, you should know that they offer paperless and bilingual billing, a mobile app, and a refer-a-friend program, where you get a $25 electric bill credit. 

Frontier Utilities

Frontier Utilities is a new electricity company that was established in 2008. This energy provider offers both electricity and natural gas to its Texas customers. Their electricity plans are offered to both commercial and residential customers. All new customers are offered prepaid, no or low-deposit electricity plans, a mobile app, flexible billing, a refer-a-friend program, as well as a free A/C Tune-Up. 

Gexa Energy

Gexa Energy is one of the leaders in 100% renewable energy plans. Gexa Energy was established at the dawn of energy deregulation in Texas and had since then provided its customers with reliable electric service. Today, it is one of the more recognized energy companies in the state. 

Green Mountain Energy

Green Mountain Energy offers very affordable renewable electricity plan options to their Texas customers. Established back in 1997, Green Mountain Energy was one of the first companies on US soil to introduce green energy as a standard offer in their energy package. Green Mountain truly believes that lower energy consumption and sourcing energy from green sources is the future of the energy market, so it offers a number of green gadgets and energy-efficiency advice to all its customers. 

Payless Power

Payless Power was established back in 2005. This family-owned business is the backbone of energy services for more than 400 Texas communities. Payless Power is known for its no-deposit energy plans, prepaid electricity energy plans, daily usage alerts, and no hidden fees. Payless Power offers electricity service to both residential and commercial customers. 

TriEagle Energy

TriEagle Energy was established in Texas back in 2002. Since then, the company has switched several owners and has joined the Vistra Energy family back in 2019. TriEagle Energy offers weekly usage reports, a PrimeTime, Refer-a-friend program, and smart energy plans to all its customers. TriEagle Energy works in Texas, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. 

TXU Energy

TXU is one of the oldest power suppliers in the Lone Star State. With roots going back to 1882, the company is sure to stay here for a long time. Millions of satisfied customers, a number of types of energy plans, and great energy rates for both residential and commercial users ensure that you get what you need. 


What is the best energy plan in Texas?

The best energy plan in Texas is not necessarily the cheapest one, as suspiciously cheap plans may come with a number of hidden fees and end up costing you more than a moderately-priced plan. Some of the lowest-priced plans include those offered by Reliant and 4Change Energy, and when it comes to green energy plans, Green Mountain Energy has the best options. Always check the electric rates on Electricrate, as different areas have different pricing schemes. 

Who is the best electric provider in Texas?

TXU Energy is generally considered to be the best electric provider in Texas. TXU Energy has been in existence since 1882 and has even made it past the energy deregulation of 2002. The most charitable company is 4Change Energy, known for donating 4% of its profits to four Texas charities. The best green energy company is Green Mountain Energy, with all of its energy coming from renewable sources. 

Who has the cheapest electric rates in Texas?

Frontier Utilities is the most affordable electricity provider working in Texas. Frontier Utilities offers low rates of around $0.081 per kilowatt-hour. The company is followed by Gexa Energy, offering electricity services for as little as $0.082, and Express Energy, offering electricity plans for as low as $0.083 per kWh. 

Is Reliant Energy under Ercot?

Yes, Reliant is under ERCOT. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) regulates 90% of the Texas power grid. Reliant works in this grid, so they are subject to the rules and supervision imposed by the ERCOT. The Electric Reliability Council makes sure that everybody has reliant energy services and that every electricity company works according to the law and regulations in the field. 


If you are looking for a new energy supplier or would like to start saving money on your energy bill, you’ve come to the right place. Electricrate works hard, so you do not have to: we did thorough research on both Direct Energy and Reliant Energy and can present you with a detailed breakdown of both retailers. To ensure you make the right choice, read our guide and pick the best for you. 

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