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How to Choose a Retail Electric Provider

October 17, 2010

More than 24 states have opened their electricity market to energy deregulation. Texas has been at the forefront of the energy deregulated market and many residential, commercial and industrial users in the state have benefitted much from this power to select energy service providers.

However, the initial challenge that befalls customers is that many really do not know their retail electric providers from the inside out. Picking the right retail electric provider is an important decision that every Texas consumer should make even before they engage in finalizing a service contract for their Texas electricity – and get the best services that would cater for their specific needs i.e cheap electricity, green power, etc .

As a Texas consumer, it is very important to consider all factors when selecting a retail electric provider. Making the right electric choice can get you the best quality service and the maximum savings for your Texas electricity. The following list of considerations in choosing a retail electric provider can get you in the right direction in the selection process. Take these factors into account and gather as much information from as many retail electric providers that you can get before making the final decision.

* The retail electric provider should be a duly registered and approved Texas electric company by the Texas Public Utility Commission, meeting all minimum standards for credit, legal, and system requirements.

* The retail electric provider should be a legitimate Texas electricity supplier that can offer refined risk management capabilities. The company should be able to describe each component in its service offerings including all risks that are passed on to the consumers.

* The contract should be fair and balanced including all general terms and conditions, specifics of the transactions, and full details of risk sharing.

* Pricing should be competitive from among several bids coming from different retail electric providers. The lowest bidder offering cheap electricity may not be the best solutions as you need to look into all the details of the contract, particularly for any possibilities of hidden costs, unstated risks and instability of prices.

* Billing should be accurate, timely and reliable. It would be best to ask samples of the customer bills including details on how the retail electric provider handles all billing disputes.

* Check into the financial stability of the retail electric provider. It would be best to work with a Texas electric company that is financially stable and a long-term player in the industry. Get information from the public utility commission or the Better Business Bureau about the company.

* In a similar manner, the Texas electric company should have a long and proven track record in the industry. Retail electric providers that have been in service since the roll out of energy deregulation would be among your best choices, although there are new players that have proved they can give a robust commitment to customer service, industry knowledge and responsiveness.

* The retail electric provider should provide reliable customer or partner references when asked. Getting feedback from these references and other current users can give you an insight on how this Texas electric company operates and how you can benefit much from their services.





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