KPRC 2 Investigates what the changes to the electric market mean for your bill

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HOUSTON – From gas to food and cars, we know everything costs more these days. Some of you emailed in asking about when you will see increases in your electricity bill. Our KPRC 2 Investigates team took your concerns and questions to an energy insider to discover everything you need to know about changes to the electric market and your bill.

Will the ban on Russian oil impact my energy bill?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting ban on Russian oil and gas is driving prices higher at the pump, but Energy Ogre CEO Jesson Bradshaw says the crisis should not impact your electric bill.

“I think a lot of people get a little bit confused,” said Bradshaw.

Bradshaw is helping to clear up that confusion about electricity bills. About 35% of the electricity generated in Texas last year came from plants powered by natural gas.

“That natural gas is pretty much produced here. It’s produced in the state of Texas,” Bradshaw said. And he said the electricity made with it is not really exportable.

Those factors make Texas electric market very regional. Our state’s grid is not influenced greatly by global events or even weather events in neighboring states.

Electric bills may actually be lower right now

What you can expect to pay for electricity right now.

More good news. If you use the same amount of electricity month to month and you’re on a fixed-rate plan you will notice your bill is down slightly from February to March. That is because the transmission and distribution utility charge or TDU charge on your bill dropped from 4.6 cents a kilowatt to 3.85 cents as of March 1st.

This is a pass-through charge from Centerpoint for everyone in the Greater Houston area with electric choice. It always goes down just before the summer months and it will increase again in September.

“Obviously we’re trying to make sure that the energy rates or the electricity rates themselves are not you know moving higher than what that offset is,” said Bradshaw.

He’s referring to the other part of your electric bill, the actual price you pay per kilowatt from whichever electric company you choose.

When is the best time to shop or switch my electric company?

Generally now is a great time to switch plans or sign up for a new plan before the heat of summer when electric rates are higher, but right now Bradshaw says the market looks a little off.

“We know right now that prices are higher than what we would expect to see at this time of year based upon historical patterns,” he explains.

Part of that is colder than usual winter temperatures and lingering fear from electric companies after the big freeze that is keeping prices higher. Since several companies failed during the fall out there is now a little less competition. What that means for you if you need to renew and want to get the best rate is that you should sit tight if you can.

“So if you said, ‘It’s really important to have my renewal plan locked in by the time I get to march 15th,’ Maybe you need to get that done by April or May this year.”

Bradshaw says since prices are a bit higher than normal right now he thinks as we get further away from the cold temperatures electric rates and plans will start to drop in price.

At the time this story was published, the lowest electricity rate in the greater Houston area was about 10 to 11 cents a kilowatt all in.

About the Author:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.