Factors That Affect Electricity Rates in Abilene
Apart from the plan type, pricing structure, type of consumer, electricity rates in Abilene depend on factors like:
Peak summer demand. Every summer, Texans and Abilene residents experience high electricity prices due to increased power consumption. This peak demand puts undue stress on the electricity grid, and utilities struggle to operate to meet the additional load. A rise in the ERCOT power prices means higher energy bills.
Closure of power plants. The costs of power plant operation and maintenance are added to your bill, but even a single facility’s unexpected shutdown can raise the wholesale electricity rates. These situations lower the electricity supply when there is already a peak power demand.
Transmission costs. The costs of a bulk transfer of electricity from power plants to electrical substations at the demand centers contribute to the energy pricing. Changes in the transmissions rates can occur with the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). These charges, also known as TDU costs, cover the transmission infrastructure investment.
Global factors. Although there is a massive growth in natural gas production, global oil supplies, or lack thereof, can affect the domestic energy costs in the U.S. Also, the kind of fuel being imported can determine relative changes in energy prices.
Energy Deregulation Basics
Before 2002, the Texas energy market was regulated, and the state’s residents had no option to decide where they can get their service. Deregulation gives you the right to choose the right electricity plan for your needs and stop paying more. You also get cheap rates as multiple companies compete to attract customers.
Here is the breakdown of entities in the Texas deregulated energy market:
PUCT: The Public Utility Commission of Texas is the state-appointed regulator for electric, telecommunication, and water & sewer utilities. It also implements respective legislation and resolves consumer complaints.
ERCOT: The ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) is the power grid that controls the electricity flow to roughly 90% of the state. There are six major utilities under the ERCOT oversight that manage power distribution to various service areas.
TDU: AEP Texas North, a part of American Electric Power, is the local utility in Abilene. It is also called as Transmission and Distribution Utility or local wires company, the main supplier of power to electricity providers. It takes care of the maintenance of electric infrastructure, power outages, downed lines, etc.
REP: Retail electricity providers (REPs) are the key players in a deregulated market. Consumers can choose their service provider by comparing various plans and prices against them.
Green Energy Options in Abilene
Traditional methods of power generation have and still are harming the environment in a multitude of ways. Whether it is the harmful emissions that form an ozone level at the ground level or greenhouse gases that increase the global temperatures, they are doing irreparable damage to the planet.
While governments worldwide are trying to develop more ways to combat the situation, renewable energy generation seems like an efficient solution. Eco-conscious customers in the city can now choose green energy plans to reduce their carbon footprint.
In and around Abilene, star-like turbines at renewable energy generation projects like Lone Star wind farm and Roscoe wind farm are familiar. Residential and commercial electricity consumers can utilize the wind-generated power production through these and several other wind farms. Some renewable electricity generation plants also source power from biogas, biomass, and solar.
The REPs that supply green electricity purchase RECs or renewable energy credits on behalf of their customers. These energy credits match your consumption with clean energy generation back into the grid.
Not all electric providers and plans are the same – some may offer 100% green energy, but the renewables content may vary for others. So, be sure to check the Electricity Facts Label documents of various plans to select your green energy supply plan.
Plan Length: Month-to-Month, 6-Month & More
Most postpaid plans are fixed-rate plans. They don’t change with market fluctuations, while variable rates depend on the wholesale electricity prices.
When shopping for electricity plans, it is wise to understand the various types of plans available, so you can choose one that suits your home and family’s needs.
Some companies provide energy plans with electricity rates that change every month. They have no minimum contract length, and you can switch any time you wish without paying the penalty.
Plans with contract lengths of six months are the standard and available with most providers. You sign an agreement with the electricity supplier and receive an end-of-the-month bill, which has a late fee if you miss paying. If you don’t renew your contract after six months, your plan defaults to a month-to-month plan.
Long-term plans carry a contract length ranging from 12 months to 36 months. Some providers may offer an extended period of five years.
All contract plans may come with fixed rates that give you price stability until the end of the term. You can have peace of mind as there would be no unusually high bills - they are predictable. However, if you withdraw from a contract plan before the end date of your agreement, you incur an early termination fee.
Prepaid electricity plans are “pay-as-you-go” basis plans that provide service upon receiving payment in advance. These are also no-contract plans.
There will be no monthly bills, but you are required to make timely payments to keep your service active. You can initiate the connection by adding the minimum amount of funds, decreasing your energy consumption.
You can track your balance in real-time using smart meters or prepayment meters and monitor your electricity spending. You also receive weekly or daily email alerts or text notifications to remind you how much remains in your prepaid account.
Depending on the credits left, you can add more money through digital transactions, keys, tokens, or through your provider’s authorized channel.
If the balance goes into the negative, your service may be disconnected without any notice. However, you can quickly get it back on by replenishing your account. Both disconnection and reconnection are fully automatic. These plans also may carry a higher rate than postpaid plans, but you get a lot of freedom and flexibility.
There are also other benefits, including:
• No ID verification
• No credit check
• No deposit
• No late fee or reconnection fee, and more
Also, almost everyone can qualify to get a prepaid plan, with some exceptions, such as someone at your home who uses electronic medical equipment.