About Stream Energy
Dallas-based Stream was founded in 2005 by Rob Snyder and Pierre Koshakji. In the beginning, Stream Energy (later known as just “Stream”) prided itself on selling energy by word of mouth. Originally set up as multi-level marketing (MLM) enterprise, it rapidly grew to become a major player in retail electricity, natural gas, other services in seven states and Washington, D.C.
Stream's MLM operation gradually grew more controversial over the past 14 years. The company recruited its customers to join its sales force by selling to family and friend and earning a commission. As with other MLM organizations, every sales level of the organization makes money off of the organization's lower levels. At one point, joining the Stream MLM as a sales associate required a $329 fee. Stream's customers who joined as sales associates ultimately faced competing against each other for sales and to recruit new sales associates. Many cried foul. During the last few years, Stream faced several class acton suits, including one case settled in Texas to compensate sales agents who signed on between 2005 and 2011.
NRG Acquires Stream
In August, 2019, Houston-based utility NRG Energy completed its $300 million all-cash acquisition of Stream Energy's retail electricity and natural gas businesses. As part of the deal, Stream's MLM operation was separated from the NRG purchase and remains an independent company. Rebranded as Kynect, this residual company will market energy and wireless services as an independent sales organization and be the "exclusive marketer to the Stream business acquired by NRG".
Meanwhile, NRG, now with an estimated addition of more than 600,000 customers, will be exercising significantly more influence in not just the Texas retail energy markets but in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and a number of other eastern U.S. markets as well.
Stream Energy In The Community
Stream formed “Stream Cares” in 2016 as a way to strategically support and fund charitable causes. Initially focusing on giving back to members of the military and their families, Stream Cares broadened its charitable scope in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, donating $25,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Afterwards, the Stream Cares Foundation was formed to formalize its ongoing philanthropy throughout Texas and all over the country. In Dallas, the foundation works to help alleviate homelessness through its partnership with Hope Supply Co.
Compare Stream Energy Rates
Compare Stream Energy Houston Rates
|Provider||Plan Name||1000 kWh Rate|
|Stream Energy||Simple & Secure 12 Month Plan (fixed)||12.1 cents per kWh|
|Pulse Power||Texas Saver 12 (fixed)||7 cents per kWh|
|Gexa||Gexa Saver 12 (fixed)||7.1 cents per kWh|
In the above example, Stream's plan rate is about 73% higher than the competitive rates charged by Pulse Power and Gexa. If we get into plan details about usage, not much changes. Both Pulse Power and Gexa plans feature $95 usage credits that kicks in when customer usage hits exactly 1,000 kWh. Below the 1,000 kWh mark, their rates are up to 4 cents per kWh higher. Both Pulse Power and Gexa customers who miss the usage cut off not only lose the usage credit but get charged a higher rate. In comparison, Stream's plan charges 2 cents more per kWh if usage falls below 1000 kWh. Also, while Stream's EFL specifically states there is “NO minimum usage fee”, the Terms of Service require customers whose usage falls below 999 kWh will face a $14.95 charge. Because of this charge, the average price for 500 kWh actually increases by 2.99 cents per kWh to 17.59 cents per kWh -- putting it higher than Pulse Power but not as high as Gexa.
Because Stream does not offer usage credits for usage at 1000 kWh or more, their average monthly price remains 3 to 4 cents per kWh higher than Pulse Power and Gexa. Beyond the 2000 kwh usage level, the three plans come within a penny of each other. The main difference remaining is the Early Termination Fee. Stream charges $250 while Gexa charges $150, and Pulse Power $20/month remaining in the contract.
Stream Energy Variable and Fixed Rates
Stream's Energy prices depends mainly on whether the plan's rate is variable or fixed. Variable rate plans reflect the market rate for electricity. Because the market rate changes constantly, Stream can change the rate for their energy charge for these plans at any time. They notify customers about changes in writing at least 14 days before any change will be applied to your bill or take effect.
Fixed rate plans, however, have fixed prices. Once you agree to a fixed rate plan, the contract keeps the price for your energy charge constant throughout the term of the contract.
How the Right Plan and Rate Saves You Money Variable rate plans tend to be great conveniences for short term periods. For example, if you're moving or if you're between plans and you need extra time to shop for a fixed rate, then signing onto a month-to-month variable plan with a low introductory rate can save you money BUT only for that first month. Remember, you're only using the month-to-month plan to give you extra time to shop. You want to switch to a fixed rate electricity plan before the rate on your month-to-month plan jumps at the end of your first month.
Electricity prices change constantly. During periods of extreme weather, like winter and especially summer having a variable or fixed rate plan can either cost you or save you hundreds of dollars. That's because high energy demand causes the energy charge rate per kWh to rise --sometimes suddenly. Customers with variable rate plans could see Stream's energy charges shoot up from 9 cents per kWh to 20 cents or more from one month to the next. Meanwhile, customers with fixed rate plans face no additional costs because the price for their Stream Energy fixed rate plan was locked-in ahead of time.
Stream Average Energy Charges
According to Stream plan EFLs, energy charges for fixed rate plans tend to run approximately 7 cents to about 10 cents per kWh for a monthly usage of 1000 kWh, making them competitive than many. Though Stream Energy is widely praised by some of its customers for its competitive rates and flexible plans, it is also well known for not readily disclosing charges or burying charges in its Terms of Service. For example, while an EFL may say there is “NO minimum usage fee, the Terms of Service for that plan can stipulate that customers are charged extra for when their usage falls below a specific level during that billing period. Almost all Stream plans wind up charging a higher average price per kWh when usage falls below 999 kWh. Consequently, before choosing a Stream plan, customers need to be very cautious and carefully consider how their low usage and the Stream plan details will impact their monthly bills.
While many providers seem to have no trouble at all offering low price renewable energy products, Stream has a history of finding ways to add on more fees. In its most recent renewable energy program, Eco+, Stream allows its customers to opt-into offsetting their energy usage in any plan by paying an additional $4.95 to purchase and retire one Renewable Energy Credit (RECs). How much of a customer's energy usage gets offset by that one REC depends on the amount of energy the customer uses. So, the amount of the offset will fluctuate month to month.
Again, customers need to read plan EFLs carefully and fully understand how a plan's pricing works before signing up for it.
How do I get the Cheapest Stream Energy Rate?
We've created a step by step guide to help you get the cheapest electricity rate. Plus we've built tools to help analyse your Stream Energy rate. Or you can use our Stream Energy Bill Calculator tool.
There are four basic steps
- Understand your Stream Energy usage
- Know Your Credit Score
- Understand (Local Utility) Charges
- Understand The Stream Energy EFL (Electricity Facts Label)
Stream Energy Rates for Houston
Houston - Centerpoint Electricity prices as of 06-03-2020. Compare Houston Electricity Rates.
Stream Energy Rates for Dallas
Dallas - Oncor Electricity prices as of 06-03-2020. Compare Dallas Electricity Rates.
Stream Energy Rates for Abilene
Abilene - AEP North Electricity prices as of 06-03-2020. Compare Abilene Electricity Rates.
Stream Energy Rates for Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi - AEP Central Electricity prices as of 06-03-2020. Compare Corpus Christi Electricity Rates.
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Zip Codes with the Cheapest Stream Energy Rates in Texas
Stream Energy Reviews
With over 1.5 million customers, Stream is one of the biggest retail electricity providers in Texas. The Texas PUC ranked Stream 7th in total complaints, reporting a total of 114 complaints between March and August, 2019.
Stream has maintained a high standard for many years, rating a 748 out of 800 in the J.D. Power 2016 Retail Electric Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. This put them just 9 points above the study's average Texas score but just 2 points below the survey's “pleased customer” scoring range.
While Stream was recognized by Market Strategies International as one of the top 10 most trusted retail electric providers (REPs) in Texas Following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, it fell to number 16 in 2018 but has worked its way back up to 11 in 2019.
Stream currently maintains an A+ rating on the BBB. Yelp reviews for Stream Energy score the company low due to complaints about customer service issues. Of some 350 reviews, Texas Electricity Ratings customers give Stream 2 stars. Most TER customer reviews (53%) give Stream low marks for poor customer service, adding fees, and undisclosed charges while 33% liked the company's billing and account management as well as the price, plans, and promotions. The gulf between the two sets of reveiws suggests that Stream's offerings work well for some customers but poorly for many.
|Provider||2019 Texas Electricity Ratings||Consumer Affairs||Texas PUC Rating||Yelp||2016 JD Power Ratings||2019 Better Business Bureau|
|Stream Energy||2 Stars||N/A||N/A following NRG acquisition*||2 Stars||748||A+|
Texas Electricity Ratings
Overall Score for
2.1 / 5
Read Stream Energy Rating Details
Stream Energy Scores and Ratings
Stream Energy Renewal and Plan Expiration
Electricity customers sometimes lose track about what happens when the contract with their provider ends. To be clear, Texas law states that Texas electricity customers shall be notified (by mail or electronically) at least 30 days OR one billing cycle prior to the date of contract expiration, but no more than 60 days or two billing cycles in advance of contract expiration for a residential customer.
Meanwhile, the residential customer can switch without incurring an early termination charge if the switch is no earlier than 14 days before the contract expiration date provided in the expiration notice.
That all said, variable rate plans and fixed rate plans do not have the same rules about notifications.
- Variable rate customers should note that Stream does not notify variable rate/month-to-month customers about rate changes. Instead, customers can call Stream to find out the current price at any time.
- Variable rate customers should also be aware that at their sole discretion, Stream can change variable rate prices at any time.
Variable pricing is based upon the fluctuation of wholesale natural gas (or other commodity) prices or other factors affecting wholesale electricity prices. These can include weather or transmission and/or distribution constraints, both of which cause fluctuations in energy supply and demand. Plus there's also Stream's pricing strategies in response to competition, and anticipated margins.
The two things Stream variable rate customers need to remember is that the price a variable rate plan began with will probably change and that Stream does not imposed limits on the fluctuation of variable pricing. Your rate could fall one month and then double or triple afterwards.
For fixed rate plans, Stream will provide customer with a contract expiration notice sent at least 14 days prior to the end of the initial contract term specified in the EFL. This contract term notice tells customers that if they do not renew their contract or switch by the time the contract ends that they will be automatically switched to Stream's month-to-month variable rate default plan.
For example, if your new 12 month plan begins on January 1, you should expect a contract term notice later that year on December 1. If you don't renew with Stream or switch to a different plan or provider, you could see your next bill's rate jump by 2 or 3 times the amount you were originally paying. And because this rate is variable, your rate will change every month.
Stream Energy Featured Plans
Stream is currently offering four plans. Two are fixed rate plans, one is a fixed rate renewable, and the third is a variable rate.
Stream's Simple & Secure 32 Month Plan is a 32 month long fixed rate. In the Centerpoint service area, the average price per kWh based on 999 kwh or below is 13.30 cents per kWh. When Usage rises to 1000 kWh or more, the average price per kWh lowers to 10.8 cents per kWh. While the plan states that there is no minimum usage fee, the Terms of Service impose a $14.95 charge on those months when usage falls below 999 kWh. For customers using only 500 kWh, the average price effectively increases by 2.99 cents per kWh to 13.79 cents per kWh. As with all Stream plans, customers can pay an extra $4.95 to opt into the Eco+ program to make their plan renewable to some extent. The early termination fee is especially (if not shackling) steep: $300. While customers can certainly find a few long term fixed rate plans that have higher prices than Stream, there are far more offering competitive if not out right better rates, even for low usage customers.
Stream's Simple & Secure 12 Month Plan is the year long version (12 months) at a fixed rate. In the Centerpoint service area, the average price per kWh based on 999 kwh or below is 14.6 cents per kWh. At the 1000 kWh mark, the average price per kWh falls to 12.1 cents per kWh. Again, though the plan says there is no no minimum usage fee, the Terms of Service impose a $14.95 charge on those months when usage falls below 999 kWh. For customers using only 500 kWh, the average price effectively increases by 2.99 cents per kWh to 17.59 cents per kWh. The plan also includes the ability for customer to opt-in to the Eco+ program for $4.95. This plan also comes with a steep early termination fee of $250. Customers who merely browse other plans will find that while many other better-priced offerings with better terms that don't penalize low-usage customers.
Both the above plan EFLs state they are offered in “'all-in' fixed price per kWh”, meaning that the price includes both the Stream energy charge and the TDU charges. The reason is not stated. However, in order for customers to get a better handle on Stream's energy charge (and how competitive they compare other providers), their average EFL prices can be unpacked with this formula:
(All Inclusive Rate) - (Total TDU charge/ # kWh used) = Energy Charge
For these examples, we're using Stream's Simple & Secure 12 Month Plan. The EFL average price is 12.1 cents per kWh in Centerpoint and 11.2 cents per kWh in Oncor.
Centerpoint TDU charges: $0.0405120 per kWh and $5.47 customer charge. At the 1000 kWh usage level, Centerpoint TDU charges = $0.45982 or 4.5982 cents per kwh.
Stream's energy charge for 1000 kwh in Centerpoint:
12.1 cents per kWh - 4.5982 cents per kwh = 7.5018 cents per kWh (energy charge).
Oncor distribution charges: $0.038447 per kWh and $3.42 customer charge.
At the 1000 kWh usage level, Oncor TDU charges = $0.041867 OR 4.1867 cents per kWh
Stream's energy charge for 1000 kwh in Oncor:
11.2 cents per kWh - 4.1867 cents per kWh = 7.0133 cents per kWh (energy charge).
Stream's Green & Clean 12 Month Plan is a year long, 100% renewable plan that relies on the retirement of renewable energy credits. Like the other fixed rate plans, the early termination fee is also pricey: $250. In Centerpoint, the energy charge is 9.2 cents per kWh. At 1000 kWh, the average price is 13.8 cents per kWh, at 2000 kWh it's 13.5 cents per kWh. Like the other fixed plans, Stream penalizes low usage customers. The plan includes a minimum usage charge of up to $10.95 applied to to billing months when usage falls below 999 kWh. Consequently, the average price at only 500 kwh is much higher: 16.5 cents per kWh. Unfortunately, according to the Terms of Service, low usage customers run the risk of seeing an additional $14.95 charge when usage falls below 999 kWh. That would push the average price for 500 kWh of usage to 19.49 cents per kWh. Sticking it low usage customers certainly seems egregiously unfair here. However, it may be possible that Stream's documentation is just slipshod. After all, according this renewable energy plan's EFL, customers can also sign up for the Eco+ option. This would mean paying an additional $4.95 to offset this renewable energy plan with…renewable energy. If true, it's certainly an agreement that should be avoided. At any rate, customers can easily find much more affordable rates for green plans and most certainly find plans that don't burn low usage customers with penalizing fees and charges.
Stream's Flex Choice Intro is a month-to-month variable rate plan. While customers can also get the Eco + option and do not face an early termination fee and can switch any time they wish, the plan penalizes low usage customers with a minimum usage charge of up to $10.95 applied to billing months when usage falls below 999 kWh and additional $14.95 charge (in the Terms of Service) when usage falls below 999 kWh, as well. As with all variable plans, customers need to remember that the provider can change the price for any reason at all each month.
Stream Energy Power Outage -- What to Do?
If the power goes off suddenly, the first thing a Texas electricity customer should do is to contact their local utility transmission/distribution utility (TDU). These companies are responsible for maintaining the poles, wire, and substations that deliver electricity to your home. All sorts of things can cause power outages, running the gamut from severe weather to traffic accidents or overloads to fallen tree branches. Even snakes crawling from one connection post to another in a switching yard can cut the power. There might not be much left of the snake, but you might be left in the dark.
To report an outage, contact your local TDU:
- Oncor Outage Map Or phone 888.313.4747
- Centerpoint Outage Map Or phone 713-207-2222 or 800-332-7143
- AEP Outage Map Or phone 866-223-8508
- TNMP Outage Map Or phone 888-866-7456
Stream Energy Pay Bill
Stream makes bill payment fast, simple, and convenient with a variety of payment options. These include paying online by logging into their secure My Stream account.
Stream Energy Website One Time Payment
Another online option is Stream's One-Time Payment portal on their website. Customers only need their account number to log-in and pay their monthly bill (a $2.95 convenience fee will be applied). Of course, there's also traditional bill paying methods that include payment by mail, overnight mail, phone, or even in person at a convenient pay center location in your area.
Stream Energy App
Stream Energy also offers customers its MyStream Connect App for iOS and Android devices. Customer can use it to manage bills, payments, or set up AutoPay so that their Stream Texas electricity bills are paid automatically every month via their bank or credit card.
Stream Bill Payment Extensions
Stream customer bills are due and payable sixteen (16) days from the date on the bill. Because Stream provides customers the option to choose their own due date, it can change the way the bill is processed because the 16 days begins when they receive usage information from the TDU. Consequently, some customers can actually receive two bills in one month.
If Stream's billing invoice is not paid by its due date, customers will have a late charge of 5% of the invoiced amount applied to their next bill. If unpaid, then a disconnection notice will be created and cost the customer an additional $10 fee. This disconnection notice give customers 10 more days to clear the amount due and avoid disconnection for non-payment.
Stream does offer a means for customers who fall behind to pay off what they owe. Customers can contact Stream to apply for an extension or other options such as enrolling in an average billing plan or setting up an arranged payment or deferred payment plan.
In average billing, the payment amount is calculated by adding the current invoice amount due to the previous eleven months' billed amounts for the service address. That total amount is then divided by twelve (or by the number of months' billed amounts available for the service address). Finally, 10% of any unpaid difference carried over from previous months is added or subtracted depending on the amount over or underpaid.
Customers can also choose to enroll in a Deferred Payment Plan. Here, Stream may require an initial payment that is 50% of the account's total balance. The remaining amount will then be paid over five billing cycles along with the amount for the monthly electric bill.