How to shop for an energy plan

December 8th, 2023

How to shop for an energy plan

If you're new to deregulation or experiencing deregulation in your region, it opens up a world of possibilities with hundreds of energy plans to explore, each catering to different budgets and lifestyle preferences. Out of all of the different options, how can you be sure you’re finding the best one? To help you narrow down your options, we’ve compiled a list of guidelines to help you shop for the best energy plan for you.

What is a deregulated area?

When energy is deregulated, it means that the customer gets to choose their energy provider while in regulated areas the electricity is managed by a government body. 

In deregulated areas, energy companies compete with each other to provide competitive offers and improve the quality of their products. This means that you’ll have the opportunity to explore providers and energy plans with different rates, terms, and features. 

Customers who are in regulated areas don't have a choice for their energy provider. Their electricity will be supplied by their regional utility provider which owns and operates all electricity. This comes with the disadvantage of not personalizing their electricity experience to tailor towards what’s important to them

How to find the best energy plans

Power to Choose is a website created by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to help Texans shop for energy plans. It offers a wide variety of options where you can filter plans to help make an informed decision. Here’s a list of filters you can choose from:

  • Pricing - Easily filter plans based on the lowest price tailored to your consumption. Keep in mind rates can change depending on your consumption so it's advisable to read the electricity facts label (EFL) for a better understanding.
  • Usage - Filter rates based on your approximate consumption.
  • Contract length - Typical contract length are six-month, 12-month, 24-month, 36-month, or 60-month contracts. For temporary service needs, month-to-month plans are also available.
  • Postpay or prepay - Postpay plans will usually require either a credit check or a deposit for enrollment while prepay plans require a smaller upfront payment. It's a great option to avoid a credit check or pay a larger deposit.
  • Fixed-rate or variable - Fixed-rate plans have a steady price that does not change for the duration of the contract while variable-rate plans have a fluctuating rate.
  • Ratings - Energy companies are rated on their customer service, ranging from one to five stars, based on the number of customer complaints registered with the PUCT.
  • Renewable - Customize your electricity plan by selecting the percentage of electricity sourced from renewable energy.

What are the smart features?

If you’re interested in a particular company, ask if they have plans that work with smart devices. These smart devices often include solar panels, solar batteries, electric vehicles, and smart thermostats. These plans can help optimize your devices for a better experience, support the Texas grid, and/or offer discounts to help you save on your monthly bills.

How do I shop for plans without credit or a deposit?

When you prefer to avoid a credit check or paying a deposit, the most favorable choice is to explore prepay plans. With prepay plans, you pay a small fee upfront, which is credited to your account, and when necessary, you can top up your amount. Some providers offer alternatives to deposits or credit checks, it’s recommended you get in touch with the company to discuss available options.

It looks like you're not visiting from the US.

Would you like to visit another region of Octopus Energy?