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How Does Electricity Work for Texas Apartments?

How Does Electricity Work for Texas Apartments?

Electricity provision in Texas can be a complex topic due to the state's unique deregulated energy market. However, it's important to understand this system to make the right decisions for your apartment.

This post breaks down the key points you need to know to navigate the Texas energy market confidently and find an affordable and reliable power solution for your Texas apartment.

Understanding the Deregulated Energy Market in Texas

Unlike most states, Texas has a deregulated energy market, which means you have the power to choose your electricity provider. This deregulation was implemented by the Public Utility Commission of Texas to encourage competition among providers and offer consumers better choices and prices.

To aid in this process, the Public Utility Commission of Texas operates the Power To Choose website, where residents can compare different electricity providers and plans. This unbiased platform allows you to view the rates, contract lengths, and renewable energy percentages of different providers to select the best fit for your needs.

Types of Electricity Plans in Texas

In Texas, you can choose from three main types of electricity plans:

Fixed-Rate Plans

Fixed-rate plans lock in a specific price for electricity for a predetermined period, often one to two years. This plan offers predictability because your energy price will remain constant throughout your contract, regardless of market changes. However, if you wish to terminate the contract early, you may be subjected to an early termination fee.

Variable-Rate Plans

Variable-rate plans fluctuate with the energy market. When demand is low, you can benefit from lower prices. Conversely, your bill could significantly increase during periods of high demand, like during the hot summer months.

No-Deposit Plans

If you don't pass a credit check by an energy provider, you may be asked for a deposit before starting your service. To avoid this cost, you could opt for a no-deposit or prepaid energy plan.

About Minimum Electricity Usage

Many electricity plans in Texas require a minimum electricity usage per month. If your consumption falls below this threshold, you might incur a "minimum usage charge". Some companies offer credits or fee waivers for using a certain amount of electricity, so it's crucial to check the Electricity Facts Label for your chosen plan.

Understanding Your Electricity Usage and Choosing the Right Plan

To choose the most cost-effective electricity plan, you need to understand your electricity usage. Here are some rough usage benchmarks to help you:

  • 500 kWh per month: This usage level might suit a small, energy-efficient apartment with one or two residents, primarily using electricity for basic appliances like lights, a refrigerator, and a small TV.
  • 1000 kWh per month: This level is typical for a medium-sized apartment with two to three residents, using electricity for standard appliances, some heating/cooling, and possibly a small computer network.
  • 2000 kWh per month: This might be the usage level for larger households with multiple residents, less energy-efficient appliances, air conditioning use, and more extensive electronics like home entertainment systems.

For instance, let's compare three sample plans from companies A, B, and C:

  1. Company A's Plan: At 500 kWh, the price is 11.1¢ per kWh, at 1,000 kWh it's 10.6¢ per kWh, and at 2,000 kWh, the price drops to 10.4¢ per kWh. This plan uses 26% renewable energy and has a cancellation fee of $150.00.
  2. Company B's Plan: This plan costs 11.2¢ per kWh at 500 kWh, 10.7¢ per kWh at 1,000 kWh, and 10.5¢ per kWh at 2,000 kWh. This plan is 100% renewable and also has a cancellation fee of $150.00.
  3. Company C's Plan: At 500 kWh, this plan costs 12.4¢ per kWh, at 1,000 kWh, the price is 10.9¢ per kWh, and at 2,000 kWh, the price drops to 10.2¢ per kWh. This plan is also 100% renewable and has a slightly lower cancellation fee of $100.

When comparing these plans, if you have low to medium electricity usage (500-1000 kWh), Company A's and B's plans are quite comparable in price, with Company A being slightly cheaper. However, Company B offers 100% renewable energy, which could be a deciding factor if you prioritize sustainability.

For higher electricity usage (2000 kWh), Company C offers the best price per kWh, despite being slightly more expensive at lower usage levels. It also provides 100% renewable energy and a lower cancellation fee.

Regarding prepaid or postpaid options, prepaid plans can be beneficial if you want to avoid deposits, have more control over your spending, or if you have a poor credit history. However, they often work out more expensive in the long run, so if you're able to pass a credit check, a postpaid plan could be more economical.

Remember, it's crucial to assess your energy usage accurately, understand the details of your chosen plan, and consider your priorities (cost, renewable energy, flexibility) to avoid unexpected costs and ensure the plan suits your needs.


The deregulated Texas energy market might seem complex, but once you understand how it works, you can use it to your advantage. Shop around, consider your options carefully, and choose the plan that offers the best balance of cost and reliability for your Texas apartment.

For more information and to compare plans, visit the Power to Choose website.