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Cheap Electricity in Texas

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Frequently Asked Questions Prepaid Electrciity

One of the biggest advantages for you on this website is that we are not only experts in finding ways to save on energy, but we also worked as a call center too. This means that we are in constant contact with Texas electricity customers. With 12 years of experience, we can say that we have seen and heard it all. Here are the most common questions our electricity customers ask. Feel free to contact us to resolve any issue or question.


Q: How long does it take to connect a new electricity service?
A: Usually takes 2 hours to connect and electricity service, we have seen many cases where in a matter of 30 minutes, the power is on. However, there are exceptions. In some cases, the account and address need further review, and more human interaction to complete an order. 

PREPAID ELECTRICITY

Q: What is the information required for a prepaid energy service?

A: It's very simple; name, address, cell phone number (working), email, and date of birth. 

Q: Is it really no deposit required to start electricity service?
A: Indeed, it is. The money paid is to buy energy (kilowatts) in advance. It is like buying credits for electricity that you will use in the future days.

Q: How long can $40 of electricity last?

A: It all depends on each residence. Everyone uses their electricity in a different way. A large 4-bedroom house will use much more electricity than a single-bedroom apartment. I suggest calculating how much you use in a month and then you will see how many days your $40 will last.

Q: Does Payless Power use introductory rates?

A: No. The rate depends on the plan that the customer starts the electricity service. As long as the TDU does not change its rates and the wholesale energy prices stay the same, the kilowatt rate will remain the same.

Q: Is there a minimum balance to keep an energy rate?

A: As of today, 09/30/2021, with Payless Power, there is no minimum balance to keep an electricity rate. This is a new way Payless Power wants to keep its customers happy. Before, the customers needed to keep a minimum balance of $35 to have the lowest rate possible.

*Smart Choice Power only offers prepaid electricity*

Q: Prepaid electricity runs credit check?

A: Absolutely not. We will never ask for your social security number or driver's license number.

Q: What kind of information is required to connect prepaid electricity? 

 

A: With prepaid electricity, there is no need to give away sensitive information, we will only ask for basic personal information which is, name, address, date of birth, and a cellular phone number.

 

Q: How long would take to connect prepaid electricity with Payless Power?

A: After making a payment for the energy you will be using in the next few days and if the electrical meter has no issues, it can take about 30 minutes to connect the residential electricity service.

 

Q: Prepaid electricity is for houses or for apartments only?  

A: Prepaid energy can be connected to houses, apartments, or trailer homes.

Q: What is a SMART METER?

A: AMS or smart meters are placed in most homes and businesses. These meters send the reading to the utility wirelessly, no need for a utility employee to go and do the meter reading manually. We will let you know if your premises have no AMS.

About Credit Checks

Q: Do I need to give my social security number to start an electricity service?

A: No, since we do not perform credit checks we will not ask for a social security number, driver's license, or ITIN. 

Q: Do I need good credit to get prepaid electricity?

A: No, if you are buying your electricity in advance, there is no need to have good credit. 

Q: What is needed to check my credit?

A: Well, we won't need it since we don't do credit checks. Since you ask, to do a credit verification, your social security number or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) will be required. 

Q: Why do some energy companies ask for good credit to start the energy service?

A: Those electricity companies want to ensure that the customer will stay with the company for a while and be on time paying the bills. 

Q: Can an electricity company ruin someone's credit?

A: No. Electricity services will not damage someone's credit. However, if you have a debt with an energy company, and that energy company passes the debt to a collections agency, now the debt is with a collections agency, this collections agency can ruin your credit.

BILLING


Q: How does prepaid electricity billing work?
A: You will not receive a bill in the mail, all is digital. You will receive a text or email notification that states your daily energy usage, account balance, etc.

Q: If I need a bill or proof of payment, how can I get it?

 

A: You can ask us to send you email notifications that include your information, energy usage, account balance, and estimated time to run out of electricity.

 

Q: I need proof of residence, can you provide that?

 

A: Yes, you can ask us to give you a history of service. This will include your payments, energy usage, your name, and your address. This will be sent via email. 


Q: How competitive are the kilowatt rates?
A: The energy rates are remarkably like regular postpaid energy plans. For sure lower than free energy plans.

 

Q: Is it necessary to be locked into a contract?
A: Yes. Since you are buying the electricity in advance, the electricity is yours, however, since we are offering fixed kilowatt rates, there is a contract. No worries, we have short-term agreements for 6 months. 

Q: What if I want to change to a new electricity company?
A: If you decide to change to a new energy company, and there is money left in the account, we will reimburse the money not used.

 

Q: Is there a charge to reload the electricity account?
A: If you pay in cash, the retail store will have a convenience fee, usually $2.50. However, if you use a credit or debit card through the automated system, there is no charge to reload your energy account. I strongly recommend setting it up in autopay.

 

Q: How does the autopay work?
A: You decide when and how much to auto-change your energy account. As an example, you can set it to recharge when your balance reaches $20 and you choose the amount you wish to add to the account.

Q: Is prepaid electricity more expensive than postpaid energy?

A: Prepaid energy rates are extremely competitive, adding the value of knowing your energy usage every day which makes you save more and more energy every day. You can be saving starting from day one. 

Q: Is the electricity cheaper at night?

A: This is a myth, the electricity costs are the same during the day or during the night. The energy companies that give free energy plans make money when the energy is not for free.

Q: What is the average electricity rate in Texas?

R: Texas holds 6th place as the cheapest electricity rate in the US. The average Texan pays around 10.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

SWITCH HOLD

Q: What is a SWITCH HOLD?

A: A switch hold is a virtual lock placed on a meter, this is set by the utility ordered by an energy company that has an outstanding bill from a customer. When an energy customer stops paying his/her electricity bill or asks the energy company for a payment plan, the electricity company places a "switch hold" on the electric meter so the customer can't switch to a new electricity supplier. 

Q: How to remove a SWITCH HOLD on the electric meter?

A: Pay the outstanding balance. In the case that the customer is a new resident, the new customer must prove that he or she is a new resident at the address in question. 

Q: What documents are needed to remove the switch hold?

A: There are 2 documents that the new resident must provide to the utility; appendix J2 (New Occupant Statement) and the new lease agreement. These 2 documents must be signed by the landlord. 

Q: How long it takes for the utility to remove the switch hold?

A: The utilities work on switch hold cases until 11 am. So, if you act quickly, the switch hold can be removed in less than 24 hours. 

Q: What is the main purpose of the utility company?
A: The utility company is the one in charge of delivering the electricity to each house, business, and public light. Also, they control the grid and the distribution of electricity in their territory. They also manage the switch hold placements. 

In case of a POWER OUTAGE

Q: Whom to Call in Case of a Power Outage in Texas?

 

For deregulated Texas utilities by areas

 

Oncor, Dallas/Fort Worth: 1-888-313-4747

http://www.oncor.com

Centerpoint, Houston: 1-800-332-7143

https://www.centerpointenergy.com

 

AEP Central and AEP North, South Texas/The Valley: 1-866-223-8508
https://www.aeptexas.com

 

TNMP (Texas New Mexico Power): 1-888-866-7456
http://www.tnmp.com

Q: How likely is it to have a power outage?

A: We experience power outages very often, however, these power outages are so rapidly fixed that we don't even notice. On the other hand, a long power outage usually occurs when the distribution greed needs to repair something. In a winter storm, it is a high risk of a power outage to happen. 

Q: What solutions are for a long power outage?

A: I think the best solution for a power outage will be to have a PV system with a battery backup or a power generator. 

Q: What are the most essential things to have during a power outage?

 

A: Water, power banks for cell phones, quilts or warm blankets, dry food, chocolates, candles, and flashlights. 

 

Q: Why saving electricity is good during a winter storm?

 

A: Maybe not you, but many others can be without power, energy grids need to lower the load of energy and cool off. Sometimes the grid needs to be shut off to restore power in other places. If we save energy, this process will be faster and help others to get their power back on. 

Best use of our APPLIANCES

Q:  When is recommended to turn off the air conditioner?

 

A: We strongly suggest checking the weather before making this energy-saving trick. a) if comfortable temperatures are forecasted for at least 3 days. b) if the humidity is between 30-50%. 

 

Q: Why does the A/C help with the humidity?

 

A: The air conditioner helps to keep our home dry. Too dry or too humid is bad for our homes. If it's too dry, it could make structural damage to the house and foundation. On the other hand, too humid can cause mold and also affects the foundation of your home. 

Q: Why is better to do laundry at night if the energy costs are the same during the day or during the night?

A: This is a matter of helping your A/C to work fewer times. Doing laundry during the day will produce heat and the house will get warm and the A/C will be working constantly, at night, the temperatures are cooler, better to do laundry.

Q: Why does saving hot water makes me save energy?

A: There are a lot of times that we open the hot water without really needing it. To produce heat we need energy, which usually comes from electricity or gas. Hot water comes from a big tank that keeps the water hot all the time, when we take water from that tank, cold water comes from the register to fill out the hot water tank. That water comes cold and the water heater starts to heat up that new cold water that came to the tank.

Q: How can I save water and energy while taking a shower

A: You can time your time in the shower by hearing music, or setting an alarm. There are showerheads that change color and warn you when it's time to leave the shower. Save Electricity is our Goal

Q: How can I save electricity while cooking?

A: There are several things we can do to save electricity in the kitchen. Meal prep; do several meals in one session, avoid using the oven, avoid using the dishwasher, save hot water, and do not use all the lights in the kitchen, if your stove is electric, take advantage of the heat after turning it off.  

Q: What is the best time to cook to save electricity? 
A: At night.

Q: We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, how can we save electricity in the kitchen? 

A: Prepare meals for days ahead, section the light fixtures, save water, and hot water, and keep windows closed. 

Q: Why does saving water save electricity?

A: Energy is used to heat water, the water heater is the 2nd to 3rd appliance that uses the most electricity in the house. Many times we open the hot water without needing it. 

Q: How does the kitchen hood can help to pay for less electricity?

A: When we cook we want to get rid of the smoke and odor, so we usually open doors and windows. This will make your heating system work for a longer period of time. The kitchen hood will help you to reduce smoke and odor so you don't need to open doors and windows. 

Q: How to reduce energy usage while washing dishes?

A: I suggest using the dishwasher only if the dishwasher is full. Dishwashers use electricity for the hot water and to dry the dishes at the end of the cycle. If you do not have many dishes to wash, hand wash the dishes and try to avoid hot water.

Q: What is the energy consumption impact of the refrigerator?

A: For every 60 seconds that we leave the refrigerator door open, it takes 60 minutes to get back to the set temperature. I suggest opening and closing the fridge door as little as possible. 

Q: How do the ceiling fans affect my A/C efficiency?

 

A: Ceiling fans help a lot, they move the cool air around the house and make us feel fresh, this way we can manage higher temperatures in the house. 

Q: When it's a good time to turn off my heating/cooling system?
A: Check the weather, if you have more than 3 days in a row with comfortable weather, I suggest turning off your thermostat. 

 

Q: Is it worth it to turn off the thermostat?
A: Yes, if the weather conditions are favorable, you can save 50 to 70% of electricity on those days. 

Q: How do I need to set up my ceiling fans in the summer to save electricity?

 

A: There is a switch that changes the direction of the blades, and sets the switch in the way that the blades push the air downward. 
 

Q: Which appliances or electronics should stay connected at all times?

A: Washer, dryer, stove, microwave, internet, Wi-Fi, and non-smart TVs.

 

Q: Which electronics or devices should I care to unplug from the outlet?

 

A: Phone chargers, small kitchen appliances like coffee makers, mini ovens, blenders, etc. Computers and monitors, videogame consoles, or any entertainment equipment. 

Q: What appliance uses the most electricity during the summer?​

A: The air conditioner is the appliance that drags the most energy during the summertime. Keeping the house cool takes a lot of electricity. There are ways to help the air conditioner at optimal conditions and functionality. 

Q: Changing the windows in the house will help to save energy.

A: Yes. Definitely is a good way to make your home more efficient. I know it is a big investment but a good set of new windows can save you 30% of your electric bill.

 

Q: What is Home Automation?
A: Techniques oriented to automate a home. Technology that will make the home safer and more energy efficient.

 

Q: How much do I have to invest to have a fully automated home?
A: A system for a fully automated home may cost you about $5,000. However, you can start with $150 and go from there. 

 

Q: What are the most common energy-efficient gadgets?
A: Thermostats, light switches, and appliances.

 

Q: How much would I save per year with an energy-efficient home?
A: From $200 to $1,000 depending you your level of automation.

Save more electricity with an A/C well maintained

 

Q: How often does an A/C need service?

A: It would be good if a tech can see the A/C every 6 months, however, you can do some easy maintenance yourself.

 

Q: What 'easy' procedures can I do for my A/C?

A: Changing the filters, cleaning the air intake vents, cleaning the coils. 

 

Q: What would happen if I do not take care of my A/C?

A: Replacing an A/C unit can cost you thousands. If the problem is not that big of a deal, your electric bill can increase by a couple of hundred dollars. 

 

Q: What are the symptoms that can tell me that my A/C needs maintenance?

A: No cold air coming from the vents, A/C unit running nonstop, leaks, and frozen pipes.

Q: What is the fastest way to notice any A/C problem?

A: If you have a prepaid electricity service, the very next day, you will notice a tremendous increase in energy consumption. If you have a postpaid electric service you will notice this 30 days later. 

Q: Can I turn off the A/C at comfortable temperatures?

A: Yes. This is a very good idea. Check the weather for the next few days, this is good practice if we can keep the A/C off for a few days in a row. 

Q: How often is recommended to do A/C maintenance?

A: I would say that once a year. Meanwhile, you can change the air filter (every 3 months) and use water and a hose to clean the compressor coils.

Q: When is a good time to turn off the A/C or heating system? 

 

A: In order to save electricity, check the weather, and if you see more than 3 days in a row with decent weather, I recommend turning off the thermostat. 

 

Q: What are the precautions when turning off the cooling or heating system?

 

A: The idea here is to save energy and pay less for the electricity, if the house gets too cold or too hot, the system will take more energy or electricity to reach the desired temperature, thus your estimated savings will be null. 

Recommendations to SAVE ENERGY with Extreme Weather

Q: What are the recommended thermostat temperature settings during wintertime?

 

A: The best temperature settings throughout the day are like this: 
Wake: 68°F
Away: 60°F
Return: 68°F
Sleep: 65°F
If you can install a programmable thermostat you can even control the thermostat from your phone. 

 

Q: Why is not recommended to turn off the furnace?

 

A: It will take more energy, time, and stress to get to the desired temperature. The best is to leave it in AUTO or as answered above, use a programmable thermostat. 

 

*IMPORTANT: When in a winter blizzard, leaving faucets dripping and the heating system on helps to avoid the pipes and faucets freezing and breaking.  

Q: Why is important to keep the cabinets open during freezing temperatures?

 

A: Water pipes can burst in freezing temperatures. It's highly recommended that during freezing temperatures not turn off the heating system. At the same time, it's important to leave cabinets (where water pipes are located) open to prevent the water pipe to burst.   

 

Q: Why is important to leave faucets dripping during a freeze? 

 

A: Let's understand that water expands when freezes. Standing water freezes faster than running or moving water. So, we highly recommend leaving hot and cold water taps dripping.

Q: How does prepaid electricity can help to reduce my electricity bill in the Fall?

A: Pay close attention to the daily energy usage, note what is the best time to make use of certain appliances, reduce the thermostat temperature but do not turn it off, and take advantage of natural light. 

Q: Is prepaid electricity more expensive in the Fall?

A: Not at all, the electricity rate changes per the wholesale market of energy and natural gas. There are many variables to determine the energy rates, however, seasons are not a variable for this. 

Q: What temperature is recommended on my A/C for 100+ degree summer days and save electricity?

 

A: If you can handle it, I suggest putting your thermostat at 78+ degrees.

How to AVOID Sales Scams

Q: How do I know this is not a phony energy company?

A: We are an energy broker, and we work with Payless Power. At the top of the page, you can see the Payless Power REP number. All legal and registered energy companies must have a REP number. When you call the number, after the welcome prompt, you'll be answered by a live representative based in Fort Worth Texas.

 

Q: How can I identify a scam when searching for a new electricity company?

A: There are many things that can raise a red flag when buying residential electricity. Look out or ask for these things:
- Do they have a well-established website?
- What about their reviews? 
- What is their REP number?
- What is their address or at least a PO BOX?
- Who are you making the payments to? an individual or an actual energy company?
Important: all energy companies must have a website, an address, and a REP number.

Q: Do you offer FREE NIGHTS or FREE WEEKENDS plans? Why?

A: No. We believe that we need to be straight with our customers. Easy to understand the charges (billing) and easy to manage the energy account. Free energy products are complicated and they are not for everyone. Very few energy customers really know how to manage their free energy plan. Free energy plans are more expensive than they seem.

Q: Why FREE ENERGY plans are more expensive?

A: First, there is no such thing as FREE. If you look closer at the EFL of those plans, you will see that the energy rate at the regular hours, which are the hours that we use energy the most, is very expensive, over 18 cents per kWh. And free energy hours are offered when we use the least amount of energy. 

Q: What is the EFL?

A: Electric Facts Label or EFL is the public document where the energy company states the rates, description, and details of each plan they offer to customers. Quite seldom, customers do not know how to find these documents. This is exactly where it shows how much a customer will be charged for the plan or product they got into. These documents are available for prepaid energy and postpaid energy too.

Q: Why the electricity rate is different than what this website states? 

A: This can happen for several reasons (listed below). We encourage you to call and talk to a live representative for an up-to-date energy rate. 

​Each area or utility has different delivery charges.

The page you are reading may be reflecting an old or outdated electricity rate.

The page or article may be talking about an old promotion.

Some changes are sudden and the website developer is working on the new rates. 

​We work hard to give true and up-to-date information, however, sometimes the market changes too fast for us. 

GOING SOLAR

Q: Is a solar system really free?

A: Not at all. Home solar systems are very expensive. What it means is that there will be no change in your energy budget. The solar panel system will offset your energy conump[tion. The cost of the solar panel system will be the same as you were paying for the electricity.

 

Q: Can I have prepaid electricity and solar panels?

A: No. Just a few energy companies have the ability to give credit for the energy being pushed back to the utility.

 

Q: Do I really get paid for having a solar panel system at home?

A: No. The only thing you will get is the energy credits. The energy you overproduce during the day, which you will need back when there is no energy production, at night. The credits are the kilowatts produced. 

Q: What would be my electricity bill after installing a PV system?

 

A: In the case that the solar system offsets +100% of the energy used by the house, your electricity bill will be $0.

 

Q: Are there any other electricity charges involved after the solar system is running?

A: There is a small fee charged by the utility which is the INTERCONNECTION fee, depending on the utility, this fee can range from $15 to $25 dollars per month.

 

Q: Do the PV system must be paid in full or can be financed?

A: We offer to finance it to all our customers, however, you can ask your bank for a "home improvement loan" which may get you a better rate or we can offer a cash option and forget all loan fees. 

Q: How do the "solar tax credits" work?

A: As of 2023, there is a federal tax credit of 30% of the total cost of the solar system, we suggest that you use that money to pay part of the loan so you can stay at the monthly installments agreed on our presentation. 

Q: Do the tax credit will stay forever?

A: No, it will be reduced by 2% each year for the next 3 years, then it will go away.  

Q: What is Net Metering?
A: Net Metering (talking about solar systems), it's the billing method where the utility counts the energy a solar system is generating deducted from the energy consumed by the house. The difference is what it's billed to the customer with solar panels. In this article, I explain all details about Net Metering.

Q: Do I get paid for the excess energy I send to the grid?
A: No, you will not get paid in cash. The utility will save that energy for you and will credit you when you need it. It's by energy credits, not by money.

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