Abacus Energy was a short lived electricity provider based out of Texas. They went out of business as a result a cold snap shut down several electricity generation plants. This resulted in rolling blackouts, which caused the short term spot price for electricity purchases to skyrocket. Abacus wasn't able to meet the financial obligations set forth by ERCOT (The Electric Reliability Council of Texas) and subsequently went out of business. The bulk of their customers were transferred to Spark Energy.
Whether it’s the new energy crisis or the Big Texas Freeze that made you fall behind on your energy bills, you’re not alone. The weather’s still hot, and energy rates are still high. And growing inflation means that it’s getting harder and harder to pay all our bills on time. Luckily, not all hope is lost. Even if you don’t have a cheap electric plan yet, these 4 tips can help you pay your bill.
1. Talk to Your Provider
If you can’t pay your electric bill, talk to your energy provider. They may offer you an extension, payment plan, or deferral.
Your provider may also waive late penalty fees if you’re on SNAP or Medicaid. And if you’re just signing up, asking to waive or split deposit payments into two can also help your budget.
2. Conserve Electricity
One of the best ways to keep your electric bill low is to be smart about your usage. There are plenty of cheaper options to cool your home other than an AC. But, if you need it, easy AC maintenance can keep ensure energy-efficient performance.
Keeping windows closed, lights off, and unused appliances unplugged are other easy ways to keep electricity usage to a minimum.
3. Apply for Aid to Pay Your Bill
In July, the Texas Utility Help program offered a $50 million fund to help struggling households pay their electric bills in the summer. Unfortunately, applications were shut down less than 2 weeks in due to high demand. But, you can apply for other Texas-based aid programs.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal aid. It helps 6 million American households pay their gas, heating, and electric bills (but not water). Last year, Texas received $283.9 million as part of LIHEAP until September 2022. In Texas, LIHEAP is often called CEAP (Comprehensinve Energy Assistance Program).
The more weather-proof your house is, the lower your heating and cooling costs will be. That’s why the Department of Energy set up the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). This fund helps low-income households fund home-improvement projects.
If your electricity bill is unusually high, make sure that you’re still on a plan. Once your plan term ends, your energy provider may automatically switch you to a variable rate month-to-month plan–which is usually more expensive.
As Texas and the rest of the nation struggles with the new energy crisis, the price of electricity seems to increase continually. And for most Texans, it’s very difficult to find a cheap electricity plan right now. Still, when push comes to shove, if you need to shop, a fixed-rate plan is still way-better than a month-to-month variable rate plan. So, let's compare three competitive Dallas electricity plans that will keep your lights on and how to maximize your savings when the energy crisis improves.
Fixed Twelve Month Electricity in Dallas
The best 12-month fixed-rate plan in Dallas right now is Energy Texas’ Come and Take It 12. This plan has an average price of 16.9 cents per kWh. This includes the $4.95 base charge, the 11.65 cents per kWh energy charge, TDU, and market securitization charges. If your usage is 1000 kWh per month, your bill estimate with this plan would be $164.
Champion Energy’s Champ Saver 12 isn’t too far behind either, with a $169 monthly bill estimate. This plan doesn’t have a base charge, but the 12.7 cents per kWh energy charge means that the average price of this plan is 17.4 cents per kWh with delivery charges.
Rhythm’s TX Breeze 12 is more expensive, with an average price of 19.2 cents per kWh. It has a considerably higher base charge of $8.95. With the TDU charges and the higher energy charge of 13.5 cents, your average monthly bill could be $178. So, this plan may not seem like a good option at first.
But, the TX Breeze 12 has a favorable early termination agreement that may make it more lucrative in the longer run than Champ Saver 12 or Come and Take It 12.
The Energy Market May Bounce Back
While gas prices continue to run high, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The US Energy Information and Administration forecasts that gas prices may get cheaper by April 2023. This means that the price of electricity may also be better in the upcoming Spring shoulder months. The combination of lower natural gas prices and shoulder months means that will be the ideal time to shop for a plan.
If prices drop, you can terminate these plans early for a fee, and switch to a better deal.
Come and Take It 12 has an early termination fee of $250. In comparison, Champ Saver 12’s fee is only $150. But even that’s not as good as TX Breeze 12’s.
If you terminate early, the RhythmTX Breeze 12 would only charge you $10 for every remaining month left in your contract. If you cancel your plan in April 2023 with five months left, you’d only pay $50. So, while your bill may be higher monthly, you’ll save more in the long run if you choose a favorable early termination fee plan.
Find Your Dallas Electricity Plan
Whether your current plan’s expiring or it already expired, signing up to one of these three plans is definitely better than staying on the month-to-month variable plan. You have the power to choose the best electric deal for your home.