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Blog Jul 10, 2018

The Power to Choose Texas

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Power to Choose is the state of Texas’ official electric choice website. It is operated by the Texas Public Utility Commission and is the site most commonly listed within the state’s local county and township pages as a resource for finding an electricity provider. Power to Choose is a tool meant to enable residents to find and compare electric plans on an unbiased platform to allow them to pick the one that works best for them.

For energy suppliers, it is a valuable tool for tapping into a large number of individuals looking for an energy provider. The process of getting listed on the site is free and lets companies list off their various plans along with their corresponding price tag. As an idea, Power To Choose is an important resource for consumers, providing insights that enable the most cost-efficient decisions to be made.

Unfortunately, in actuality, the site falls short of its intended purpose for a number of reasons.


Misleading Formatting

Plastered all over the interface of Power to Choose are prices and plans offered by providers. At first glance, these deals appear second to none, drawing in consumers and earning clicks and sign ups, but in reality, they are not always what they seem.

The first problem with Power To Choose is its lack of transparency and use of misleading formatting when promoting plans. Within the site’s interface, data is organized in such a way that the “cheapest” options are put at the top with the same bits of information shown as metrics for consumers to compare plans. This format makes it far too easy for site visitors to get a false sense of each plan’s offering and make a purchase in haste.

As a result, people often fail to understand the full implications of the coverage they are opting into.


Hidden Charges

Commonly withheld from Power to Choose listings are undisclosed fees, minimum energy usage requirements, and other charges. At one point in time, companies on the site were able to promote false one cent-per-kWh rates, which based on formatting would appear at the very top of the results pages.

The problem with this plan and other low-rate ones like it is that they fail to mention the additional charges factored in at the individual business level. This means that while providers are able to advertise what appear to be great rates, other fees are actually bundled in as well making that one cent-per-kWh charge four or five cents-per-kWh in reality. This has a multiplier effect, increasing the amount customers pay several times over.

That, coupled with small print and other unlisted costs, will give your bill an undesirable and unexplainable jump.


Lookalike Sites

As the largely accepted authority for energy plans, Power to Choose receives large amounts of traffic from individuals seeking to set up a plan. Electricity providers are well aware of this have been creating look-alike sites using variations of the Power to Choose domain.

This allows them to funnel people to purchase their plans under the guise that the site they are on is the genuine webpage. In keeping up with appearances, multiple suppliers may be listed on the sites but they are in fact energy providers who contract with the electricity supplier hosting the site, only adding to their business.


Other sites have begun using the phrase “Power to Choose” within their marketing online to help them seem more relevant when appearing for search results and serving searchers ads when they are only looking for the Power to Choose page. People may mistakenly click in and setup a plan fooled by the skillfully mislabeled description.  


Choose Better

In the end, the power to choose should not be in the hands of energy provider but rather the customers. There is only one way to ensure that happens and that is by prompting consumers to do their research and determine the total cost of their energy consumption for a range of usage quantities, fleeing from the commonly published notion of an average usage amount.

From there they will have to take on the unfortunate task of reading the fine print. Customers will benefit from collecting and tabulating advertised amounts to determine what plan works for them and how they can avoid spending more on energy.

Consumers can also call up energy providers instead of looking online to get to the bottom of the deals being offered. Though the process does require more effort on the part of customers, it does ensure that when people choose, they choose the right option.   


Power to Choose

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