HOUSTON – When you need to choose a new electric company, what do you do first? A lot of people head to the Power to Choose website, but they end up so confused that they don't choose anything.
A new website called Texas Electricity Ratings is making the decision a little easier.
If you understand that green means go and red means stop, you get the concept at Texas Electricity Ratings.
"We want to make it easy for customers to understand what is a good plan for them and what is a bad plan for them," said founder Matt Oberle.
The go-to state-run Power to Choose website only lists prices for electric plans when you use exactly 500, 1000 or 2000 kilowatts. Those numbers don't tell the whole story.
"At 999, it could be extremely high and at 1001, it could be extremely high," Oberle explained. "But if you land on 1000, that's a great plan for you. Realistically, no one is going to land on 1000."
On TexasElectricityRatings.com, you can see exactly what price you'll pay for electricity at all those ranges in between.
When we checked, Gexa's "Every Day/ Every Night 12" plan would cost you 14.2 cents a kilowatt if you use 1000 kilowatts or more. Use just a little less at 750 kilowatts, and your rate jumps up to 15.7 cents.
At 500 kilowatts, Texas Electricity Ratings shows you orange, advising you to proceed with caution because the rate jumps up to 16.7 cents. When you go below that to 250 kilowatts, you get into the red, or "stop" area, because the same Gexa plan would cost you a whopping 19.8 cents a kilowatt.
"Green means good or go. Red means stop," said Oberle. "Yellow is more in the middle depending on what your lifestyle is and what makes sense to you."
Texas Electricity Ratings also recommends the best rates and plans at any given moment. On the day we checked, the best rate was Constellation Energy with a 7.8 cent a kilowatt rate, for 1000 khw and higher.
Before you choose any plan, you need to know about how many kilowatts you use each month. You can find that information on your electric bill. Then, shop for plans that have good rates around that range.
Texas Electricity Ratings is an energy broker. It makes money from the electric companies when you sign up through rates advertised on its website.