Simple Guide on Switching Electric Services when You Move to Texas
Moving to a new country or city is an exciting phase in one’s life especially if you are moving to Texas. Its cost of living is low and the market, leisure, and healthcare are thriving. However, moving to a new home oftentimes brings unnecessary stress and headache when preparation and handling of the transfer of utilities were not done correctly.
To ensure a smooth transition of your transfer especially with regards to transferring your facilities, knowing the changes associated with it would be helpful. Learn through this comprehensive guide all the information you need to know about making sure you have access to the electricity you need when you transfer and how to put closure to your utilities on your previous home.
Searching for a New REP & Plan
The local utility company is responsible for the delivery of electricity to your new residence. You must find first and contact a REP or Retail Energy Provider to help you start your electricity services. Typically, the sign-up or set-up is very similar between REPs. You simply have to call your selected REP’s customer service line 5 – 7 business days before your move-in date to ensure that you have electricity when you arrive. The REP you select will need the following information:
- Contact Information
- Date of Birth
- New Address
- Move-in Date
- Name and Rate of Selected Plan
- Social Security Number or Driver’s License
Stop or Terminate Utility Service
Moving away from your current area requires you to contact your REP to stop or terminate your service. Be sure to check your plan for termination fees. Many REPs require 30 days’ notice to close an account without penalty.
It is important to contact your utility providers ahead of time to check any unpaid final balances in order to avoid surprise bills. You should also schedule the disconnection of your utilities to ensure that you have still power until such time you leave your old house.
Transferring Electricity Services
If you are simply moving to another residence in the same area, you likely do not need to change your REP given that you are satisfied with their services. Again, check the terms and services of your plan or contract with your REP to determine how much-advanced notice you need to provide to end service at your current residence. Call your REP to inform them of the following:
- Account Number
- Account Changes (if any)
- Planned Move Date
- New Address
- Planned Move-In Date
- Social Security Number (for identification)
Multiple Reasons Why You Should Move to Texas
Texas is a wonderful place to settle in and call it home. A growing economy, affordable cost of living, and availability of wonderful beaches are some of the reasons you should consider Texas as your place of a new home. With its steadily growing economy, there are a lot of job opportunities to keep up with the demand of the booming industries of healthcare, leisure, and energy industries.
Texas also has several beaches, which draw surfers from all over the world. Port Lavaca, Port Arthur, and Port Aransas are wonderful destinations for a local getaway, or you can even step outside and go for long walks along the boardwalks in Galveston.
Living in Texas will only require you a reasonable amount of money. The state is ranked second in the United States for a low cost of living. You can buy a larger home or rent an apartment compared to California, with a similar rate in salary. The state also supports a state-income-tax-free income. In addition, because Texas is such a large state, you have the option to pick a city or county that best suits your unique lifestyle.
Some of the most popular (and largest) cities in Texas include,
- Corpus Christi
- Fort Worth
- Grand Prairie
- Round Rock
- Wichita Falls
Snow in Texas is rare, so if you love the heat, this state might be the perfect place for you. Warmer weather means less heating for the average homeowner, however, despite this, you need to be aware that winter weather in this state is unpredictable with some days hitting 30 degrees and others, 70 degrees.
Other than we other reasons why you should move to Texas are strong wages, no income tax, affordable housing, available land, safety, good schools, convenient location, beautiful weather, and year-round outdoor activities.
Energy Deregulation and Electric Utilities in Texas
Electricity and the cost of using it is always a factor when considering a move to a new location. The good news is that Texas is an energy deregulated state, which gives residents living in many areas more flexibility and control over their energy bills.
Energy deregulation came into effect in 2002 in The Lonestar State, to help break up the control utilities had over the market. This new law allowed Retail Energy Providers (REPs) to form – organizations that are authorized to handle the supply component to electricity for residents of the state. In order to remain competitive and retain customers, REPs have to constantly offer plans, rates, products, and services that are appealing and fair. Energy utilities in Texas now only provide the delivery of electricity. They are also responsible for the maintenance and repair of poles and wires in the areas that they serve.
Texas’s Average Electricity Price
The average Texan pays approximately $0.1098 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and uses about 1,171 kWh per month. As a result, the average monthly Texas electric bill is around $128.50, or $1,542 annually. This rate is 15 % lower than the national average. On the other hand, the average Texas commercial electricity rate is 8.09 ¢/kWh (30% lower than the national average).
To get a closer look at a specific area’s average electricity price, the Public Utility Commission of Texas had summarized the average annual rate of different retail electricity providers at the different service areas with its latest data for June 2021 which is found on their official website.
Texas Energy Companies
There are a lot of Texas Energy Companies that offer a wide variety of fixed-rate plans and electricity plans. There are companies that offer short and long-term plans such as Pulse Power and Bulb Energy respectively and there are also that offer renewable energy such as Green Mountain Energy.
The Top 10 Best Electric Companies in Texas include:
- Reliant Energy
- Pulse Power
- Cirro Energy
- Green Mountain Energy
- Payless Power
- Gexa Energy
- TXU Energy
- Chariot Energy
- Amigo Energy
Things to Consider when Choosing a Retail Energy Provider in Texas
If your move is long-term, you should opt for a long-term rate plan with your utilities, especially with your electric providers. A long-term contract will protect you from energy price fluctuations that the providers can often push onto the customers.
On the other hand, if your stay is short, you can choose to go for a variable rate electric plan, as you could benefit from the seasonal decrease in the energy price. With this type of plan, you can expect to have cheaper electricity for a few months and no early termination fee to pay. Alternatively, if you’re staying for a very short period, you could also opt for Pay-as-you-Go or even Prepaid electricity plans
Average Electricity Price per Square Foot
If you move into a home that is large and equipped with a pool, chances are you will use around 2000 kWh per month, which can add up over time. Smaller homes, on the other hand, will use around 1000 kWh per month for heating, cooling, and running your appliances, while small apartments in multi-story buildings will consume the least – around 500 kWh per month. In total, you can expect to pay around $2.10 per square foot of floor space of your home.
Many REPs offer discounts and incentives for switching over to more energy-efficient ways of living such as choosing renewable sources of power. Texas leads the nation in electricity generation from wind. On the other hand, Texas ranks fifth in the nation in electricity generation from solar.
To get a REP in Texas, you will need to pass a credit check. If you have a low score, REPs will ask you to pay a deposit or sign up for a pre-paid plan. On another hand, a high credit history score will ensure you get the best deal when moving to Texas. If you are concerned about your credit history or believe that the current credit score does not reflect the real state of affairs, you can go for prepaid energy plans or Pay-as-you-Go options. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of a stable electricity supply without your credit history interfering.
Early Termination Fee
If you are moving to Texas or are moving to a new place within Texas, your current service might come with a few fees, depending on when you cancel your services. Be sure to read your agreement or contract carefully to avoid paying more. Some energy providers will charge a flat early termination fee, usually around $175. Others may charge up to $20 per month remaining on the contract. Always check the early termination fee before signing any contract.
Some REPs charge a monthly fee on some plans. This can cause the effective rate to be much higher! For example, if you consume 1000 kWh per month, and have the option between a 7 cent plan without a fee, and a 6.5 cent plan with a $10 per month, you actually pay more for the 6.5 cent plan because the total actually works out to be 7.5 cents per kWh.
Online Billing is one of the newest additions to energy service providers in Texas. Online billing lets you get control over your electricity use and costs, it lets you monitor them in real-time and get informed about new electric plans at your fingertips. With online billing, you can also enjoy:
- Benefits for the environment, since online billing means less paper is used,
- Faster service from the comfort of your home,
- Faster payment of your electricity bills,
- Auto-payments, very useful if you move a lot or plan on spending some time abroad, and
- Scheduled payments, so that you can always enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your utilities will be paid when it works the best for you.
When should you Move Utilities when Moving?
Although most utility companies can turn services on or off in as little as 48 hours, you should plan to schedule your utility service termination at least two weeks in advance of your move. This allows enough time for the bureaucratic part of service termination to take place and it also allows any unforeseen problems to be resolved in time. Do your part, make sure that your bills are paid and that there is no amount owed to the utility provider.
Can you Change the Water Company in Texas?
No, you cannot change the water company in Texas. The Public Utility Commission of Texas oversees the works of water facilities and ensures fair and even distribution. Due to the nature of the installations themselves, you cannot choose, as your ZIP code is likely to be covered by one company only. However, when moving, you can choose to stay in an area that is serviced by your preferred water company.
Can you Setup Utilities before Moving In?
It’s important to set up utilities before you move, ideally about two weeks before you move. You’ll need utilities working from the first day you live there. Most of the work can be done remotely, so ensure you contact the utility providers, such as your electricity service to let them know about your move-in date. Some utilities, such as gas, may require your on-site presence, especially in the case of a newly constructed home.
How do I set up Utilities for the First Time?
To set up a new service, visit the website of your new provider. There should be information there on how to set up utilities, but if not, call them directly. You’ll need to tell them the address that you’re looking to set up utilities, as well as the date that you need service to start. They may ask for additional information, such as your SSN, bank account details (for billing purposes), as well as the details of your preferred energy service plan. Make sure you check out Electricrate.com and choose the best deal out there.
Moving to a new home and transferring your utilities to your new residence can be challenging tasks. But you can now stop, start and transfer your utilities such as electricity service even at the comfort of your home by simply giving a heads up to your current electricity provider and searching for convenient electricity service plans online.
It pays when you work ahead of time and lists the necessary utilities, settle your remaining balance, and give a forwarding address to the utility companies. This will save you from the hassle and stress that might ruin your mood as you try to transfer comfortably to our new residence.