Sometimes, it’s just better not to know. Ever look up how hot dogs are made? If not – and trust us on this one – don’t do it. Your summer cookouts will never be the same again.
When it comes to your electric bill, though, keeping yourself in the dark isn’t the right move. Figuring out how much money you could have saved after years of dealing with greedy energy companies will have you feeling like our pal Gob Bluth.
See, the big guys don’t want you to know everything. It’s hard to get excited about your electric bill (unless you’re one of our customers), and that’s not lost on those companies. Between their long-winded contracts with hidden fees and obscure clauses, misleading advertising and a laundry list of rules and stipulations, it can be hard to know exactly what you’re paying for – and it’s a chore to actually figure it out.
Who wants to spend an afternoon digging into their electric company’s contract, or hours on the phone trying to dispute a fee? For burned-out millennials – scratch that, for everyone – it’s probably easier to just shut all that out and go out for tacos instead. Hey, we don’t blame you, we love tacos.
But ask yourself honestly, are you getting a good deal on your electricity? Do you even know what a good deal is? What’s a good kilowatt-hour rate? What companies have the fewest fees? (We do!) How much does it cost to get out of your current contract?
If you know those answers off the top of your head, hey, you’re probably one of those people who watches Jeopardy and aces most of the questions.
Okay, you got us, they’re called *answers* since you reply in the form of a question. What is: our bad?
So, just for the sake of education, here are all of the things that electric companies don’t want you to know.
It’s really, really hard to leave your contract
Watching Better Call Saul doesn’t make you a lawyer. When it comes to your energy bill, even Slippin’ Jimmy probably couldn’t figure out all of the different rules and clauses attached to it.
One of the most common ones is related to the contract itself. Not happy with your energy company’s service? Tough crap, according to them, you’re stuck in it unless you want to pay a huge cancellation fee. Luckily, the PUC prevents companies from auto-renewing contracts, but if your contract expires and you don’t cancel, they’ll still bill you on a month-to-month basis.
What kind of company wants to keep customers that are clearly unhappy with their services? Ones that prioritize profits over people, that’s who. It’s like if you had a bad experience at a restaurant, and instead of getting a gift card or having your meal comped, they charged *you* extra for not enjoying it.
You know what’s better than getting stuck in an electric contract? Well, most things, but the best thing is to not get into a long-term contract at all. We don’t do those, and if you’re not happy with us, you’re free to leave any time. No strings attached.
How much energy you’re actually using
No matter what your rate is, the best way to save money on electricity is to reduce your usage. The problem is that with most (nearly all, actually) energy companies, you don’t find out how much energy you used until the end of the month.
On track for a way bigger bill than normal? Hey, don’t expect your energy company to warn you. Remember, these guys have built-in profit margins *per kilowatt*. Basically, it’s in their best interest that you leave all your lights on around the clock.
Instead of waiting to find out how much energy you used, why not get daily updates on how much you’re *using*? Our daily text alerts let you know if you’re using more energy than usual. Need to tighten your belt one month? You’ll be able to see those savings in real-time.
Knowledge is power, folks.
They get away with sketchy stuff – and are trying to get away with even more
So, in most states (aka every state that’s not Texas, the greatest state on the planet), energy companies get away with all kinds of shenanigans by default. Our deregulated energy means that consumers actually have the power to choose their energy provider, whereas other states are monopolistic and consumers have just one choice, varying by where they live.
Companies in those states get away with everything from price gouging to a mountain of hidden fees buried deep in contracts thanks to a complete lack of choice. There’s no competition, so those companies don’t have any motivation to do what’s right for their customers.
That’s… well, not right. But hey, it’s not Texas.
Here in Texas, though, you’d think the Public Utilities Commission would call out and punish companies who engage in unethical or unfair marketing practices, right? Well, it’s tough for the market to choose when these guys trying to game the system go unpunished.
It’s not that the energy companies don’t get caught doing those things listed above – they definitely do – they just don’t get punished for it. It’s far more egregious for gas companies than electric ones, but it still happens in the electric sector.
What happens when these companies do get fined? They lobby the state to get rid of the PowerToChoose site entirely, arguing that customers are somehow better off in the dark.
Rather than delivering better (and more honest) service – and earning their customers’ trust – these companies want to skirt any oversight and keep their customers in the dark.
If these guys really were the best option out there for electric services, wouldn’t they want people to see that on the PowerToChoose site? Wanting to shut down the site, as a few of the big guys do (we won’t name names, but Dave Lieber will!) speaks volumes about how bad they are.
That there are better options out there
These guys lock you into long-term contracts, bombard you with fees, jack up your rates, keep you in the dark regarding your usage, give you the customer service run-around, lobby the state to give you less of a choice, skirt around oversight and are just generally awful.
Believe it or not, there is a better and greener option – like Pogo Energy!
Most electric companies don’t have your best interest in mind, or aren’t interested in giving you a fair deal. A select few, like us, wanted to see what happened if we brought ethics and new ideas into the electricity sector.
What other electricity company promises no hidden fees while also helping you reduce your usage? When’s the last time you knew your energy choices were helping the planet? We’re here to help you go totally green by giving you 100% clean energy. Ever hear of an energy company giving you a free three-day trial, and never having a cancellation fee?
People go through tough times, and odds are, your current energy company isn’t exactly understanding if you fall short on a payment. With Pogo, we’ll never disconnect you on nights or weekends, and if you need some more time, we’ll give you a zero interest payment plan.
Also, we sometimes tweet about how much we love Whataburger. The other guys don’t do that. So grab a honey butter chicken biscuit in one hand and take the 60 seconds to sign up on your mobile phone with your other hand.