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Several Texas Retail Providers Not Accepting New Customers

May 19 2022

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Copyright 2010-21
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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As has been the case in prior periods of expected volatility or other challenging market conditions, several Texas retail electric providers have ceased accepting new customers

Octopus Energy had earlier today stated on its website, "Due to the current volatility in the energy market we are not currently accepting new customers. Please check back soon!"

Octopus told that it plans to have enrollment back up shortly and has revised the message on its website for Texas rate queries to now state: "Hello, our enrollment is offline right now, but will be back up shortly! In the meantime, sign up on our waitlist"

As more fully explained in Octopus' statement below, Octopus had also tested a communication offering a limited number of customers on variable rates, or on fixed rates which were due to expire and rollover to a variable rate, $100 to switch to another REP

Octopus is no longer providing this offer

Octopus's limited offering of this $100 incentive had been first noted by Steve Castle (twitter: @farmfreshpower)

The test communication had stated, "Summer has already heated up and we're actively watching energy markets. It's in your best interest to switch to a fixed rate plan with another energy provider. We want to offer you $100 to switch[...] within 7 days."

Octopus further explained the offer in the following statement:

"The $100 offer was a test communication in the event of extreme energy pricing that went to a very small segment of variable rate customers and fixed rate customers whose contracts were expiring in the near future and would shift to a variable rate plan. We are no longer providing this offer.

"We regularly conduct consumer testing to understand user behavior that can benefit both the customer and the grid. For example, last summer we hosted the first-ever Octo Cool Down for Houston customers to beat the heat and conserve energy as the city approached record high temperatures and peak energy usage.

"Despite our best efforts here at Octopus, and around the industry, to implement smart grid solutions like Intelligent Octopus -- which helps balance power supply during demand peaks -- we are preparing for the potential threat of rolling blackouts throughout the summer.

"While our enrollment is down temporarily during this volatile time, we expect to have it back up next week for some products."

--- Statement from Octopus Energy also understands that Spark Energy recently directed brokers to remove its Texas offers from the brokers' websites. When entering a Texas zip code, Spark Energy's website provides a response stating, "no rates found," and the company does not currently have offers on Power to Choose

Infuse Energy, which as first reported by sold a book of customers to NRG, is also not accepting new customers, stating on its website, "We are making some business adjustments and are not currently enrolling new customers."

It is likely these are not the only Texas REPs which are pausing new customer enrollments

Websites for some other REPs which have at some point (unclear how recently) removed offers from Power to Choose do not list current offers for Texas -- resulting in an error or blank rate page when a Texas zip code is entered, but such REPs do not have an explicit message stating they are not accepting new customers

Numerous REPs in the CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric area are offering non-renewable 12-month fixed rate plans in excess of 20 cents per kWh. Several (though fewer than at CNP) REPs in the Oncor service areas are offering non-renewable 12-month fixed rate plans in excess of 20 cents per kWh

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