Moving to Texas this summer? Here’s what you should know.

Caitlin Cosper
By Caitlin Cosper May 20th, 2020
For business

It's important to prepare before moving to Texas.

Moving is never easy – especially during a global pandemic. But for thousands of Americans, moving is an essential task, whether it’s because of a lease ending, a new job, or you recently sold or bought a new home.

This is particularly true for those moving to Texas. In fact, the Lone Star State has continuously attracted new residents over the years. Between 2018 and 2019, the state gained more than 365,000 new Texans, according to the Census Bureau. According to a 2019 census, four Texas cities made the list of top ten cities with the largest numerical population growth.

So, what do people moving to Texas need to know before they relocate this summer? And how does the spread of COVID-19 affect moving plans? Read further to find the answers to these important questions and more.

The Texas deregulated energy market

Since 2002, the majority of the Lone Star State has enjoyed a deregulated energy market. This may sound intimidating, but deregulation essentially means you have the power to choose who provides your electricity.

If you are moving from a “regulated” area, you know you did not have a choice in where your energy came from – odds are it came directly from the utility that serves your current area.

In deregulated areas, consumers must choose from a pool of retail electric providers (REPs) who will provide electricity. This encourages competition and can lead to lower energy rates, deals on monthly energy bills and promotions for new customers. There is not an option to purchase electricity directly from the utility company.

Regardless of which REP you choose, the local utility will be in charge of delivering the power to your home, maintaining electric lines and dealing with power outages.

This might seem confusing, but having the freedom to choose between providers, plans, and rates gives Texans more control over their monthly energy bills. Here’s a simple breakdown of how this process works:

  1. Compare plans. Using the Choose Energy marketplace, you can shop and compare providers, plans and rates. Enter your ZIP code above to see the plans and rates available in your area.
  2. Sign up. Once you’ve found a plan that works for you, you can sign up online. The sign-up process is simple and will only take a few minutes. Afterwards, you will receive a confirmation email.
  3. Prepare for your move. After you sign up, your work is done. Your provider will begin service at your new home on the date that you chose. Most Texas homes have smart meters, meaning a technician will not need to come to your home for service to begin.

Choosing an energy plan in Texas

Finding the right electricity plan in a deregulated area can feel overwhelming because of the sheer number of potential providers. But we’re here to help!

Before you choose a plan, consider the following options:

  • Type of plan – Common plans include fixed, variable, or indexed plans. Your type of plan determines whether your rates will change or remain the same throughout your contract.
  • Term length – Most contracts last between 12 and 36 months. However, there are also plan options that last between 3 and 6 months, as well as month-to-month options.
  • Payment options – Consider whether you need a prepaid or postpaid plan. Prepaid energy plans let you pay for a certain amount of electricity in advance and normally don’t require a deposit or credit check. Most energy plans are postpaid, meaning you receive your bill at the end of the month and are charged for the amount of energy you consumed.

For a more detailed look at finding an energy plan, see our Energy Plan Guide.

Hot Texas summers may impact your energy usage

One very important thing to note when you move to Texas in the summer is the extremely high summer temperature – and that summer heat can impact your electricity bills! Texas energy rates tend to spike in the summer, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a cheap plan that fits your needs.

Odds are you’ll rely heavily on your AC when you move to Texas this summer. Be sure to find a plan that has the right usage (measured in kWh). You can figure out how much energy you’ll likely consume each month based on your home’s size and the amount of people living with you.

With the Choose Energy marketplace, you can filter for the types of plans that interest you and use our slider tool to find ideal plans for your home’s size.

What you should know about COVID-19 in Texas

This summer, those moving to Texas will also feel the stress of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has shut down businesses, gatherings and social events across the world. Here’s what you should know about how Texas is dealing with the coronavirus.

The Texas state governor put a stay-at-home order into place on April 2, but this order expired on April 30, less than a month later. The state is currently in phase one of reopening. “Vulnerable” populations are encouraged to stay home, and state officials are still urging Texans to wear masks or facial coverings and to adhere to all social distancing practices.

In terms of choosing an energy plan, electricity demand normally skyrockets in the summer when heat waves hit the state and consumers crank up the AC. ERCOT (the grid operator in Texas) has assured Texans that it should be capable of meeting summer electricity demands. If extreme temperatures or natural disasters (such as hurricanes) hit Texas hard, ERCOT may issue Energy Emergency Alerts (EEAs).

Its also important to mention the moratorium put in place by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) in March. This emergency plan came in response to COVID-19 and its economic impact on unemployed or low-income Texans.

Under this moratorium, eligible Texas households are protected from electricity and water shutoffs and are promised extended due dates and flexible payment options from utilities. While the moratorium was initially expected to last six months, the PUCT recently announced plans to end it as early as July. While this may not affect all Texas households, it is certainly worth noting for anyone moving to the region.

 

Caitlin Cosper is a writer within the energy and power industry. Born in Georgia, she attended the University of Georgia before earning her master’s in English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Image/Shutterstock

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