In the state of Texas, there are more than 2,000 plans from about 59 retail energy providers (REPs) to choose from. If the sheer number weren’t overwhelming enough, REPs put most of their deceptive practices and egregious fees in small-typed dense documents in order to hide them from potential customers. Did you know you could pay a fee if you use less than the minimum amount of energy? Or a fee just for calling their customer service? Or another one for not setting up autopay?
It’s gotten so bad that even the price of energy they advertise is deceitful. REPs are only required to post the rate for specific tiers (500 kWh, 1,000 kWh and 2,500 kWh). But if you don’t read the fine print and know your average monthly electricity use, or if your energy use fluctuates between those tiers, you will be charged even more.
It’s these practices, and so many others, that led to the creation of PowerToConfuse.
PowerToConfuse.org was created to help clear the confusion behind your electricity bills and all the plans to choose from, and provide consumers with the information you need, want and deserve.
Our mission is to take bold steps to educate and enlighten consumers on the tricks and deceptive practices that REPs use to lure customers in. PowerToConfuse.org draws attention to many of the misleading practices (like the kWh tiers) and ridiculous fees consumers may be subject to. The site also provides a number of useful articles and tips that can help consumers gain real insight into how they buy energy.
The Power of Hidden Fees
Since most of Texas became deregulated in the early 2000s, the cost of energy has gone up by 49.7% in some places, instead of down, as originally intended. The average Texan household pays $144 per month for electricity—the fifth-highest in the country.
Since most of the energy that consumers purchase come from the same energy sources, REPs have to manipulate their plans and add ridiculous fees in order to make higher profits. So out of the more than 2,000 plans on PowerToChoose.com, you’ll find:
- 87% have early termination fees
- 61% have a disconnection notice fee (yeah, there’s a fee for notifying you about an impending disconnection)
- 52% have a minimum usage fee
- 49% have a base charge fee
- 41% have a customer care call fee
- 39% have a document request fee
In a recent survey we did with Lab42, half of the 500 Houstonians we asked indicated that cost was their number one gripe with their electricity company. This was followed closely by transparency, timeliness and accuracy of rate and usage information. In fact, 40% of you would switch energy providers today if you weren’t bound by a contract.
One survey respondent summed up Houston’s overall feeling toward its electricity providers as: “I haven’t really had any issues. But my bill is hard to decipher and I wonder if I’m really getting a good deal.” Another: “We don’t have an issue with them, but I feel we could save money elsewhere.” And finally, one savvy consumer: “They don’t provide energy consumption analysis per day.”
A Better Way – The Griddy Way
PowerToConfuse.org was founded by Griddy, the smart energy company launching in Texas in Spring 2017. Through a low monthly membership rate, Griddy provides consumers direct access to wholesale energy prices with no markup or hidden fees. Our goal is to make powering your home easy, efficient and transparent.
On the Griddy platform, we want to show you how much you could be saving with things like price alerts or notices when the grid is powered up on renewables, and is therefore, cheaper. We will let you plan your energy consumption by providing you the cost of energy up to 48 hours in the future.
Griddy is bringing a revolutionary approach to retail energy and once consumers truly understand the current game REPs play, we believe the choice will be obvious.