How to shop for electricity plans with smart features

December 8th, 2023

How to shop for electricity plans with smart features

What are smart features?

When shopping for energy, you may come across plans that offer incentives if you include a smart home device. These incentives may include a discounted energy plan, a credit on your account each month, or they might optimize your devices to reduce usage in your home saving you on your bills. A lot of these smart plans may include the same device but offer different discounts or function differently, so it's important to know which one would work best for you. That’s why we’ve created a list of the most common smart features and how they work to help you choose a plan that best fits your lifestyle and budget.


Solar is one of the most common smart features here in Texas. If you have solar panels on your roof, your best bet for getting credits back is by enrolling in a solar buyback plan. Keep in mind that there are so many different types of solar buyback plans out there that will offer different types of credit.

The most common types of plans are:

  • Fixed-rate buyback plans - they’ll buy your solar power at a fixed rate.
  • ‘One-to-one’ buyback – they’ll buy your solar power for the same rate as you pay to import electricity (usually on these plans, you’ll only be able to export as much solar as you import).
  • Real-time market rate buyback prices – they’ll buy your solar power at the Texas wholesale market rate. This rate changes every 15 minutes and can vary depending on the weather and time of year. During Summer, and in the ‘peak’ times of day, the wholesale price can skyrocket 100x higher. 

For more information on solar buyback plans, check out our Guide to Texas Solar Buyback.

Solar battery plans

If you have a solar battery for extra storage, it may be worth your while to look into getting on a compatible solar battery plan. These plans typically work alongside solar buyback plans to help you get the most bang for your buck when exporting. Additional incentives for connecting your battery may be a monthly bill credit or an overall discounted energy rate. 

Smart thermostat plans

Smart thermostat plans can help you save money in two ways. You may receive a monthly bill credit or a discounted rate for having the device linked. By linking your thermostat, you allow your energy company to optimize your thermostat during stressful grid conditions while, depending on the company, keeping you in full control of the thermostat. Allowing your energy company to optimize your thermostat also aids in reducing your home's energy consumption, helping you save on your monthly bills. Some of these plans may behave differently than others. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of the company’s smart thermostat plans.

Electric vehicle plans

If you own an electric vehicle, you may be able to save while charging your vehicle with an electric vehicle plan. This plan may offer three different ways to save money:

  • Bill credits - By signing up for an electric vehicle plan, you’ll receive a credit on your bill each month as an incentive for linking your vehicle
  • Discounted rate - By enrolling in an electric vehicle plan you’ll receive a discounted energy rate 
  • Cheaper charging hours - These plans will typically offer you two rates. One rate throughout the day and a discounted rate throughout the night so you're able to charge your vehicle at a cheaper rateUnlock savings and convenience with smart features tailored for you!While you shop, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for these plans - you might qualify for these great benefits if you own any of these smart devices. At Octopus, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to take advantage of a smart energy plan. Even if you don't have a smart device, we’ve created a smart energy plan for you. Tap to browse our smart energy plans and find what best suits your home, budget, and lifestyle. Your journey to smarter energy is just a tap away!

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