All posts by Michael Patterson

Texas Solar in the Spotlight

Local columnist takes a closer look at the rising renewable

Mitch Schnurman’s column in today’s Dallas Morning News continued an important discussion about the evolution of Texas’ solar market and is further evidence that the state’s highly competitive retail electric market is helping shape how consumers – residential and commercial – will buy and use electricity in the future.

Today, the retail electric market in Texas is less about the transaction of turning the lights on and off and more about creating an emotional connection with our customers through products and services that empower them and help them save money.

As Schnurman points out in his column, “Large users are leading the way on solar, locking in low prices, shrinking their carbon footprint and enjoying the halo effect of going green.”

It’s an exciting time in Texas and consumers are reaping the benefits.

FN Alex

New York Times Spotlights Texas Retail Electricity Market

Publication notes focus on innovation, customer service, TXU Energy Free Nights

FN Alex

There’s no doubt that Texas’ retail electric market is the most innovative and competitive in the country and today’s New York Times helps reinforce that point with a feature on TXU Energy Free Nights.

The front-page story features the experience of two customers who take advantage of the company’s unique plan by shifting their consumption to “free” time periods. By providing customers choices that fit their lifestyle and give them control over their monthly electric bill, TXU Energy is creating more satisfied and loyal customers.

In the story, Jim Burke, CEO of TXU Energy, said: “Consumer choice, with its impacts and benefits, will drive the future of the power industry.”

Innovations like TXU Energy Free Nights are made possible because Texas’ retail electric market, which features a robust smart meter infrastructure, intense competition and engaged consumers.

Conservation is a Hot Topic in Texas

TXU Energy shares unexpected ways to save on household electricity bills

raise therm2Summer can be a real challenge for homeowners in Texas who want to keep cool without breaking the bank. And while there are many ways to cut back at home, TXU Energy is reminding customers of some overlooked opportunities outside the house.

By planning activities for the hottest part of the day – usually 3 to 7 p.m. – Texans can turn up the temperature on their thermostat at home and take advantage of someone else’s air conditioning.

TXU Energy Responds to Inquiries About Duncanville ISD Litigation

Yesterday, TXU Energy filed a lawsuit against Duncanville Independent School District, and the lawsuit has generated a number of questions and media interest. Because the subject matter can be complex, some context and background may be helpful to understand the issue.

TXU Energy has been engaged in an ongoing dispute with Duncanville ISD since 2012, centered on an item in the contract called a “swing charge.” The dispute later expanded to include a liquidation claim after the district switched providers before the contract with TXU Energy had expired.

TXU Energy is a strong advocate for energy efficiency and has a number of programs to help customers use less electricity. However, “swing” represents a significant risk to retail electricity providers because consumption that is significantly above or below the contracted level requires a provider, like TXU Energy in this instance, to purchase additional electricity or sell excess electricity on the spot market. Large and commercial businesses often choose contracts that include swing charges because they can help secure lower overall rates. In fact, swing charges have been a component in every contract between Duncanville ISD and TXU Energy since 2007.

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Consumers Can Avoid Fees in Texas Electricity Market

TXU Energy clarifies position on fees charged by retail electric providers

As is well-known, TXU Energy is unique among retail electricity providers by providing all customers with the assurances of a Customer Bill of Rights. Among other benefits, this Bill of Rights details fair pricing and clear, straightforward billing terms that customers can understand and trust. Adherence to these commitments is just part of the reason why TXU Energy ranks highest in customer satisfaction on the PUC Scorecard among large retail electricity providers.

Nonetheless, like any competitive industry, Texas’ de-regulated market is subject to scrutiny. Recently, for example, The Dallas Morning News examined fees charged by retail electric providers, writing that they “obscure the real cost of electricity in Texas.”

While we can’t speak for our competition, it is important to clarify TXU Energy’s position with respect to such fees and, in the process, eliminate any ambiguity concerning our commitment to doing what’s right for Texans.

For TXU Energy, fees enable us to allocate costs to those requiring the service instead of making all customers pay for a service or feature they don’t want or need. The few discretionary fees we do have generally fall into one of two categories:

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