Finding the best prepaid energy plans in Texas

Choose EnergyEnergy TipsFinding the best prepaid energy plans in Texas

Texas Prepaid Energy Plans

There is a new kind of energy plan that has been rising in popularity among budget-conscious customers in Texas – the prepaid energy plan.  These unique plans allow customers to pay their energy bills in advance and as they go.  If this plan is right for you, it can have huge benefits, and signing up for one may be easier than you expect.

Prepaid energy plans work just like the name implies, where the customer pays their Retail Electric Provider (REP) in advance for only the amount of energy they expect to use.  When the customer’s account balance gets low, their REP will notify them when they are required to deposit more money into the account in order to keep their lights on.  Paying ahead of time eliminates the surprise of a monthly energy bill that sometimes catches residents off guard and in a bind to pay a surprisingly high energy bill all at once.

Prepaid Plan Benefits

Perhaps the greatest benefit for Texans is that prepaid plans do not come with a contract, required deposit, or a required credit check in order to enroll.  In Texas, where REPs have strict enrollment requirements compared to those in other deregulated states, the prepaid energy plans can be a savior for residents who face credit challenges, either poor credit or credit that is not yet established, or for those who desire the financial freedom of a contract-free energy plan.

Prepaid plans are not only a good fit for those who are in a difficult financial situation, but also for those who may be living in temporary housing, because service with prepaid plans can typically be turned on very quickly, sometimes within hours.

Thousands of residents have enrolled in prepaid plans over the last several years.  REPs have heard customers loud and clear and are responding accordingly by adding prepaid electricity plans to their offerings. There are now dozens of suppliers in Texas now offering prepaid plans in every utility zone.  

How do you Find the Right Prepaid Energy Plan?

If the prepaid plan sounds like an attractive option for you, how do you sift through the potentially dozens of options in your area and choose the plan that is the best fit for you?

Compare prepaid plans by multiple REPs side-by-side, at Choose Energy, it includes several prepaid plan options by REPs in all Texas utility service areas except for Sharyland. Be sure that the plan includes no deposit, no credit check and allows you to pay upfront.

Here are a few prepaid plan options on www.chooseenergy.com in two utility service areas:

Centerpoint service area Prepaid Plans:

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  • Payless Power, 11.50 cents/kWh Smart Tricity Super Saver
    • Enjoy a $0 early termination fee as well as 7% green energy.  Free same day connection.
  • First Choice Power, 9.10 cents/kWh, Power-To-Go Deposit Freedom
    • Enjoy a $0 early termination fee as well as 11% green energy.
  • Frontier Utilities, 9.20 cents/kWh, Power As You Go Online
    • Enjoy a $0 early termination fee as well as 6% green energy.  An advanced meter or “Smart Meter” is required for this plan.

Oncor service area Prepaid Plans:

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  • Payless Power, 10.50 cents/kWh Smart Tricity Super Saver
    • Enjoy a $0 early termination fee as well as 7% green energy.  Free same day connection.
  • First Choice Power, 7.70 cents/kWh, Power-To-Go Deposit Freedom
    • Enjoy a $0 early termination fee as well as 11% green energy.
  • Frontier Utilities, 8.80 cents/kWh, Power As You Go Online
    • Enjoy a $0 early termination fee as well as 6% green energy.  An advanced meter or “Smart Meter” is required for this plan.

Next, narrow your search by selecting only those plans that have favorable terms that meet your needs.  The specific terms of each prepaid plan may differ quite a bit.  Choose Energy advises that you read the Terms of Service and Electricity Facts Label of each plan in order to narrow your choices.  The key terms to look for are:

  • Fees charged to turn your service back on should it ever be turned off for any reason.
  • The number of days and method of notice the REP will give before your account reaches zero.  If your account reaches zero your service will be disconnected, so be sure you are comfortable with the REPs time and method of notice.
  • Whether you are will be eligible for financial assistance. If your supplier provides this option, they should provide you with these details.
  • Whether your rate will be fixed or variable.  Prepaid plans often use variable rates which can result in unexpected high charges if you are not monitoring your usage.
  • A minimum usage fee, whereby you may be charged if your usage is below a certain kWh/month.

Once you have signed up for a prepaid energy plan, remember that you can cancel your plan at any time and at no cost.  You also have the flexibility to switch into a different energy plan at a later date should your needs change.

As electricity customers continue to demand energy plans with greater flexibility and financial freedom, Texas residents can continue to have faith that options like prepaid energy plans will be available.  This flexibility is great for electricity markets and especially for customers.