HOUSTON – How much was your electric bill last month? It was higher than usual if you're like most. But one new electric provider says you would have saved about 30 percent if you were with it.
Consumer expert Amy Davis spoke with the CEO and co-founder of Griddy to find out how the company works.
"Griddy is a whole new way to buy power," Griddy CEO Greg Craig said. He said his business model works because it's simple. Customers pay Griddy $9.99 a month. In turn, Griddy provides its electricity at the same rate it cost the company wholesale.
"We say, 'Look, we'll tell you openly and honestly what we make. It's $9.99,'" Craig said. "Everything else, kind of like Costco, is a pass-through, and that combination equals a lot of savings."
Before Griddy customer Kevin McAlpin starts the dishwasher or runs his washing machine, he checks his phone to see the real-time current price of electricity on his Griddy app.
"Personally, I only look at it if I want to use something in my house," McAlpin explained.
At the start of Davis' interview with McAlpin, the wholesale price of electricity was 2.8 cents a kilowatt. His Griddy app updates the price every 5 minutes. The price he sees is the price he pays, so if it's high at any given moment, McAlpin can turn off some appliances.
"I'm not going to tell my kids to stop playing games or anything like that," said McAlpin. "But I am not going run the washing machine or the dishwasher or anything like that during that time either."
Electric companies on the state's Power to Choose website have multiple plans with fixed rates, variable rates and confusing terms that are difficult to understand. We've always been warned about peak prices, when the cost of electricity shoots up in the heat of summer. Paying wholesale at those rates sounds expensive; but Craig says those are scare tactics by retail electric providers.
"It peaks real quick; and then it comes right back down again," he explained.
Craig claims traditional retail electric providers have baked in the spikes and peaks and overpriced their plans so that customers are paying far more than just the cost of electricity. When the price of electricity dips down below 2 cents a kilowatt, customers on fixed price plans never see the savings.
Griddy customers pay their electric bill a lot like an EZ Tag. You preload $49 onto your account. As you use electricity, that amount goes down. Griddy will refuel your account when it dips below $20. You can keep up with all of it on the Griddy app.
You won't find Griddy on the Power to Choose website; but you can go to gogriddy.com to type in your ZIP code and what you paid for power last month to find out if Griddy can save you money. There is no contract. You can sign up and leave any time you want. Griddy waives the $9.99 fee your first month.