Whether you’re moving across the country, over to the next state, or even to a different house within the same city, handling and understanding the changes associated to your utilities can often cause quite the headache. If you are thinking about are have already made the decision to move to Texas, this comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need to know about making sure you have access to the electricity you need, without delay.
Why Move to Texas?
There are many reasons why Texas is a great place to call home. The job market is thriving, thanks to the strength and growth in the hospitality, healthcare, leisure and energy industries. Major cities like Dallas, for example, love technology, while Houston is big on aerospace engineering.
It might surprise you to learn that Texas has several beaches, which draw surfers from all over the world. Port Lavaca, Port Arthur and Port Aransas are wonderful destinations for a local getaway, or you can even step outside and go for long walks along the boardwalks in Galveston.
Worried about cost of living? Not in Texas. The state is ranked second in the United States for a low cost of living. You can buy a larger home or rent an apartment compared to California, with a similar rate in salary. The state also supports a state-income-tax free income. In addition, because Texas is such a large state, you have the option to pick a city or county that best suits your unique lifestyle.
Some of the most popular (and largest) cities in Texas include,
- Corpus Christi
- Fort Worth
- Grand Prairie
- Round Rock
- Wichita Falls
Snow in Texas is rare, so if you love the heat, this state might be the perfect place for you. Warmer weather means less heating for the average homeowner, however despite this you need to be aware that winter weather in this state is unpredictable with some days hitting 30 degrees and others, 70 degrees. The summer months are typically when the most residential energy is consumed, with some days seeing temperatures over 100 degrees. It is for this reason that investing in a reliable HVAC system is important to keep in mind to live comfortably in Texas.
Electric Utilities and Energy Deregulation
Electricity and the cost of using it is always a factor when considering a move to a new location. The good news is that Texas is an energy deregulated state, which gives residents living in many areas more flexibility and control over their energy bills.
Energy deregulation came into effect in 2002 in The Lonestar State, to help break up the control utilities had over the market. This new law allowed Retail Energy Providers (REPs) to form – organizations that are authorized to handle the supply component to electricity for residents of the state. In order to remain competitive and retain customers, REPs have to constantly offer plans, rates, products and services that are appealing and fair. Energy utilities in Texas now only provide the delivery of electricity. They are also responsible for the maintenance and repair of poles and wires in the areas that they service.
If you plan on moving to Texas or even if you are moving to a different city, now is the perfect time to explore your options to make sure that you are getting the best possible electric service and rates. If you are simply moving to another area within Texas, quite often, both REPs and utilities will provide loyalty reward programs like, 3% cash back on specific plans should you decide to remain a customer.
Choosing a Retail Energy Provider in Texas
There are many companies like, Electric Choice that specialize in helping you discover the REP that best suits your needs and budget. Many of these companies also offer online tools that help you to quickly identify REPs that provide service in the area you plan on moving to, so that you can do your research well before your move in date.
As you begin your research into REPs within Texas, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- How long are you going to live in your new residence? – If your move is long term, selecting a longer-term plan will reduce the risk of rate increases hitting your bill over time.
- Average price of electricity per square footage – If you move into a home that is large and equipped with a pool, chances are you will use around 2000 kWh per month, which can add up over time. Smaller homes and apartments will allow you to consume less electricity and keep costs lower.
- Go Green – Many REPs offer discounts and incentives for switching over to more energy efficient ways of living such as, choosing renewable sources of power.
- What does your credit look like? – To get an REP in Texas, you will need to pass a credit check. If you have a low score, REPs will ask you to pay a deposit or sign up for a pre-paid plan.
- Early Termination Fees – If you are moving to Texas or are moving to a new place within Texas, your current service might come with a few fees, depending on when you cancel your services. Be sure to read your agreement or contract carefully to avoid paying more.
- Monthly Fees – Some REPs charge a monthly fee on some plans. This can cause the effective rate to be much higher! For example, if you consume 1000 kWh per month, and have the option between a 7 cent plan without a fee, and a 6.5 cent plan with a $10 monthly fee, you actually pay more for the 6.5 cent plan because the total actually works out to be 7.5 cents per kWh.
- Online Billing – Some REPs will charge you if you decide not to sign-up for online billing.
How to Get Electric Service in Texas
You might be moving to Texas from a new state, or simply moving down the street. Either way, it’s important to know how to start electricity services in your new residence, terminate electricity services in your old residence or simply transfer those services from one place to another.
Starting Electricity Services: The local utility company is responsible for the delivery of electricity to your new residence. When it comes to supply, you must find and contact an REP. Typically, the sign-up or set-up is very similar between REPs. You simply have to call your selected REP’s customer service line 5 – 7 days before your move in date to ensure that you have electricity when you arrive. The REP you select will need the following information:
- Contact Information
- Date of Birth
- New Address
- Move in Date
- Name and Rate of Selected Plan
- Social Security Number or Driver’s License
Again, companies like, Electric Choice can help you to determine the right REP for your new home.
Stopping Electricity Services: Moving away from your current area requires you to contact your REP to stop or terminate your service. Be sure to check your plan for termination fees. Many REPs require 30 days notice to close an account without penalty.
Transferring Electricity Services: If you are simply moving to another residence in the same area, you likely do not need to change your REP (if you are satisfied with their services). Again, check the terms and services of your plan or contract with your REP to determine how much advanced notice you need to provide to end service at your current residence. Call your REP to inform them of the following:
- Account Number
- Account Changes (if any)
- Planned Move Date
- New Address
- Planned Move In Date
- Social Security Number (for identification)
Additional Moving Tips
It is recommended to inform your current utility that you are moving at least 1 month before the big day. This includes, electricity, water, heating, phone, Internet, cable, water and garbage services. If you have any automatic payments attached to your old residence, be sure to cancel and update this service at least three weeks before you move.
After you move, it’s a good idea to confirm with your utilities, that service to your old residence has in fact been cancelled. If you are moving within Texas, you might also be able to confirm that utilities, like electricity are now set-up or switched to your new address.