Time to Read: 5 minutes
Date: February 28, 2023
Planning for electric bills can be a frustrating thing for Texans, especially with so many companies and plans to choose from. Over the past couple of years, electric bills have fluctuated in price. For example, in a recent article by Utility Dive, consumers paid an average of 14.3% more for power than they had in 2021. Further, Utility Dive points out that the U.S Bureau of Labor Statics determined that this is more than twice the overall 6.5% rise in prices. ERCOT has been making changes in an attempt to improve the health of the Texas power grid. These changes have led to added costs being placed on consumers.
Luckily, there are many paths that Texans can take with their electricity to make these costs more bearable. Making the switch to solar is a great way for Texans to take their power into their own hands. There are also billing programs that can make their power situations more manageable.
One way that Texans have adapted to the changes in their electric bills is by switching over to a type of billing that many utility companies have started offering in Texas. In this article, we’re going to explore the concept of average (budget) billing.
What is Average Billing?
Budget billing (also called average billing by some utility providers) is a type of electric billing program that averages out your past electric bills to determine your monthly bill. It’s important to know that the amount can still change based on price spikes. These types of programs are called many different names: budget payment plans, level billing, budget billing, and more. For example, if your electric bills from the last 12 months averaged out to $100 per month, then that would be the rate you pay in a budget billing plan.
The past number of months that goes into your average bill can vary between utility companies. Some companies use the past six months while others might use an entire year’s worth of electric bills. On top of that, some utility companies add on other fees for things like changing fuel costs or environmental factors. Overall, budget billing is a really good option for Texans who want a consistent electric bill that they can budget for.
There are also Deferred billing plans that allow customers to pay outstanding balances or larger electricity bills over the course of several months. This can also be a very useful tool for residential customers to use in order to better manage their electricity bills.
Examples of Budget Billing
Budget billing can be an effective way of tackling your monthly electricity bills. However, it’s important to compare plans if possible. Different utility companies offer budget billing, but go about it in different ways. Budget billing is typically only available to residential customers. Here are some solid examples of budget billing programs in Texas and what they offer.
City of Austin Utilities
The City of Austin offers Austinites a budget billing program that works as a very solid option. Here are some of the big takeaways from it.
- New customers who haven’t used City of Austin as a utility provider are able to sign up. When new customers enroll in budget billing, the monthly payment is calculated by using the utility history of the property instead of the customer’s billing history.
- Existing customers make payments based on their billing history with City of Austin Utilities.
- Every 6 months your bills are reviewed and your payments are adjusted to reflect utility usage.
- Adjustments to payments could include debits and credits that customers built up over the past year.
Many residents of San Antonio use CPS Energy as their electricity provider. Their budget billing program (called Budget Payment Plan or BPP) is a bit different from the one offered by the City of Austin.
- You must be a CPS Energy Customer for a full year,have a good payment history, and be completely caught up on your current utility bill to be eligible.
- A fee is added to your bill for changing fuel costs and environmental factors.
- Once you are on the Budget Payment Plan, the difference between your average bill and monthly usage will be calculated. Once this has been done, any credit or debit balances that remain will be settled.
- If you have a balance of $300 or more then you are allowed to pay it on a 12-month plan. This will be a separate item on your bill.
- If you have a balance of lower than $300 or have a credit balance, then it is applied to your monthly bill
Reliant energy takes a very straight-forward approach when it comes to its budget billing program called “average billing”.
- 12 months of your monthly bills are added up and divided by 12 to find the average.
- They then add or subtract 1/12 of your deferred balance. Which is the accumulated difference between your monthly average bill and the amount you would owe if you weren’t signed up for average billing.
This offers a way to soften the blow that comes from seasonal highs on electricity bills.
Advantages of Averaged/Budget Billing
There are a slew of benefits to enrolling in this billing method. For one, averaging out your bill gives you a good idea of what to expect every month. No one likes the surprise that comes from a sudden seasonal increase on their electric bill! This lets you plan your finances ahead of time.
Budget billing can also help you save money in the long run. Paying out an average cost of electricity can help you whenever blistering summers and frigid winters drive electricity costs upward.
Averaged/Budget Billing Goes Great With a Solar Power System
While you can score some impressive savings just by switching over to solar power energy. Averaged billing could make saving even easier. Averaging out what you pay for electricity across six months to an entire year can help you know what to expect to pay. This makes it much easier for you to have a lower average bill with your solar power system. On top of that, investing in a solar power system can help you earn some money back through net metering. When you combine all of this with the benefits of average billing, you get a reliable system that saves you money in the long run, keeps the power on during power outages, and lasts for decades at a time!
Need an example? Check out how one of our customers was able to reduce his monthly electric bills by up to $200! When you are able to get electric bills down to a consistently lower number, you save incredible amounts of money in the long run. What are you waiting for? Start your solar journey and become part of our solar community today!
We have made it our mission to be a source of truth in renewable energy. Our team believes that accurate solar and backup power education is the foundation for making the best decision when choosing a system that fits your needs.
If you are considering installing a backup generator or switching to solar for your home or business, reach out to us by going to our website, iestxsolar.com, or by giving us a call at (855) 447-6527.