Texas Electricity Shopping Service Offering Customers Flat Monthly Electricity Bill (Replaces Amount From REP Bill), Even When Underlying REP Contract Volumetric
"Electricity Providers Have Never Offered Competitively Priced Fixed Bill Products," Company Says
January 14, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Texas electricity shopping service Real Simple Energy, which as part of the service pays the customer's retail electric provider bill on behalf of the customer, has launched a plan under which it charges the customer a flat monthly bill for such service, even where the underlying REP product is a volumetric rate
Real Simple Energy says that its Fixed Bill service, "is the first offered by an independent third-party energy-based company in the state [Texas]."
Real Simple Energy's Fixed Bill (flat bill) option offers "unlimited usage" for a custom, fixed monthly bill amount, set at the time of enrollment, for a six-month term
The custom price for any Fixed Bill contract is determined by two primary drivers: the customer's specific electricity usage over the previous six months, and the electricity rates in the marketplace. Real Simple Energy customizes the monthly Fixed Bill amount based on its estimates of customer usage, and the REP's rate under the plan on which Real Simple Energy would place the customer, for REP service and REP billing purposes (though the customer would not pay the REP bill amount, only the Real Simple Energy Fixed Bill amount).
As part of obtaining a quote from Real Simple Energy, customers are asked questions about their prior usage and home (square footage, year built, number of occupants, temperature preference, and number of thermostats). The Fixed Bill plan is available to qualifying customers only
The company states that it may change the fixed bill amount within 60 days of Fixed Bill enrollment if customers were not truthful in their responses
"If you submitted truthful answers when filling out our questionnaire on historical usage and home characteristics, then no. If we determine your answers were not factual (ex. you said you live in a studio apartment but it's really a 3-bedroom, then Real Simple Energy reserves the right to change your price within 60 days of service starting per our Disclaimer during sign up. Otherwise, your bill is locked in and you can use you all the electricity you want and worry about other things in your life," the company states in an FAQ
Under the Fixed Bill plan, customers can earn cash back, payable upon renewing service with the company, if they use less energy than estimated at the time of enrollment
Specifically, "if you are on our fixed bill product and you use less energy than expected over the course of your 6-month contract you will receive up to 20% cash back when you renew with Real Simple Energy," the company says on its website
"It is important to realize this calculation is cumulative for your entire 6-month contract term. If you use less than expected in one month but use more than expected in the next month, then the cash back is calculated on the actual vs expected usage for both months combined," the company says on its website.
"Cash back will be credited to the first bill of your next Fixed Bill contract or your Fixed Rate service," the company says on its website.
Under the Fixed Bill plan, customers may be placed on a "traditional" rate plan (meaning a volumetric rate, such as a fixed volumetric rate) from the selected REP
Of this, Real Simple Energy says in an FAQ, "Electricity providers have never offered competitively priced fixed bill products. For us to provide this service, we enroll you on a traditional electricity plan and any difference between what your bill is each month with the provider is matched by Real Simple Energy. For example: if your Fixed Bill contract amount with Real Simple Energy is $67/month and the bill with your provider is $70 one month, you will still pay us $67 and we will pay the provider $70. It works similarly if your bill is lower than $67."
Real Simple Energy says that the Fixed Bill plan is tailored to renters and lower than average electricity users
Real Simple Energy also continues to offer its traditional concierge retail plan selection service under which it charges a $9 per month fee for selecting a plan for the customer, with the customer paying (through Real Simple Energy) the amount billed by the REP under the REP's pricing. The company said that larger-than-average users of electricity will benefit most from its traditional retail plan selection service, rather than the new Fixed Bill plan