Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why doesn't everyone just automatically go with the cheapest rate listed for their city?

Most people do go with the cheapest rate, but sometimes finding the cheapest rate isn't the most pressing issue. In some cases, the electric company with the cheapest plan will have high credit requirements, meaning some (but not all) shoppers will be asked to pay a deposit. Sometimes the cheapest plans are only available for new customers, so the shopper will need to go to the next cheapest option. In other cases, shoppers put a high value on using renewable energy for their electricity, so they are willing to pay a higher rate to help the environment.

Q: What is the TDU Delivery Charge on my electricity bill?

The TDU (Transmission and Delivery Utility) delivery charge is a pass-through fee originating from the company that owns and maintains your meter and the power lines in your area, either CenterPoint, Oncor, AEP or TNMP. These charges are passed on to you by the electricity company you have chosen as your provider. For residential clients, this fee makes up less than half of the overall bill. Commercial customers, on the other hand, can sometimes see the TDU charges making up the largest portion of their bills. This is especially true for smaller businesses.

Q: Can I get residential electricity with out giving my social security number?

Yes, you can. By going with a no credit check electricity plan, you do not have to give a social security number because credit checks are not performed for those plans. They are month-to-month plans, so you can terminate the plan at any time. These plans are prepaid, so you will need to create and fund an account with the electric company. In most cases, you can get the electricity turned on within two hours.

Q: Can I get residential electricity with bad credit?

Yes, you can get electricity turned on within a couple of hours -- even with bad credit or no credit. Most electric companies will ask for a deposit of up to $495 dollars for customers with bad credit, but you can avoid those huge deposits by going with a no deposit electricity plan through a prepaid provider. With this type of plan, you just need to create and fund an account with the prepaid provider. Usually, you can fund with less than $100, and that money is used to pay for your electricity (unlike a deposit, where that money is just held as "ransom" until you end the contract.)

Q: How often can I change plans?

You can change as often as you'd like, but you need to be aware of early termination fees if you are under contract. Most electric companies are very good about including your contract expiration date on your bill. If you do not see a contract expiration date on your bill, that probably means you are no longer under contract and can switch without penalty. In any case, we recommend calling your provider to make sure.

Q: Can I get electricity for my business if it doesn't have any credit history yet?

Yes, there are two ways to get electricity for a business that has either bad credit or no credit history. The first way is with a personal guarantee from someone with good personal credit. The credit check is run on the personal social security number, and that person will be responsible for any future unpaid bills that the business may leave behind.

The other way is to go with a month-to-month electricity plan. With this option, you will need to set up AutoPay with either a credit card or a checking account.

With either method, you will not be asked to pay a deposit.

Q: How does prepaid electricity differ from traditional post-paid electricity?

Prepaid electricity is a "pay as you go" offering. Instead of paying back the electric company for all of the electricity you used for the previous month, the electric company uses money that you have in an account with them to pay for the electricity in real-time. Prepaid electricity is similar to a debit card, while traditional post-paid electricity operates like a credit card.

Q: What is a Switch Hold?

A Switch Hold can be placed on an electric meter if a large unpaid balance was left with the last electricity provider on the account. This usually happens in apartments or rental homes where the previous tenant moved out and decided not to pay the last bill(s). If you are moving into a new residence and there is a Switch Hold on the meter, you will not be able to get the electricity turned on without the help of the property manager or landlord. They will need to fill out an Affidavit of Landlord, which will then need to be emailed or faxed to your electric company.

Q: Who do I call if the power goes out at my house or place of business?

No matter which electricity provider you choose to do business with, you would still call the company that owns and operates the power lines and meters in your area. In Dallas, for example, you would contact Oncor. In Houston, you would contact CenterPoint. In other parts of the state, you would either contact AEP or Texas New Mexico Power (TNMP). Before you call them, however, you can look at a map of the outages in your area to see if they are already working to resolve the issue.