In deregulated energy markets like Texas, electricity consumers often choose to use an energy broker to help them find the best electricity rates in their area. Like a real estate agent helps you find the perfect home, electricity brokers help electricity consumers find the best energy plan for their energy needs. Energy brokers don’t own, sell or distribute energy—they're just the liaison between Retail Electricity Providers (REPs) and energy consumers. As energy brokers ourselves, we think finding the right retail energy broker is essential. But first, we want to explain exactly what energy market brokers do—and how they can help you.
Table of contents:
- What is an Energy Broker?
- What Do Energy Brokers Do in Texas?
- Texas Energy Broker Regulations
- Benefits of Using an Energy Broker in Texas for Your Residential Electricity
- How to Choose the Best Energy Broker in Texas
- Commercial Energy Brokers vs Residential Energy Brokers
- Energy Brokers FAQs
What is an Energy Broker?
When electricity consumers in deregulated areas need electricity, whether they’re a resident looking to sign up for home power or a business looking for higher-volume and more reliable commercial electricity supply, they must select an electricity plan from a variety of providers, prices, and contracted rates. This can be confusing and overwhelming for the average household energy consumer, considering there may be hundreds of different plans to choose from with different rate formulas, fees, and restrictions.
An energy broker is there to help electricity consumers sort through all these plans. Put formally, an energy broker is an entity that helps the customer in and around the acquisition and purchase of electricity. In other words, they are companies that can sort through your energy plan options, find the best plan for your electricity needs, negotiate a contract with a Retail Electricity Provider (REP) and help sign you up for electricity automatically, all in one go.
Now you know what an energy broker is and what they do, but why would anyone need an energy broker to begin with? Well, if you live in a deregulated energy market, you’ll soon realize how helpful a negotiator or liaison can be when you’re the one trying to find the best electricity rates. Because there are so many electricity plans to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused--especially when REPs are constantly competing with each other for your business. They’ll do anything to get you to sign a contract (often with a lot of misleading information on rates). Plus, the rates they advertise on Power to Choose, Texas’ official electricity shopping site, often don’t tell you the whole story of what you may be paying when you sign up for an electricity plan.
To avoid the headache (and high electricity bills) customers experience when choosing electricity plans on their own, they can use energy brokers like Energy Ogre. We can help customers in a deregulated market sort through all the confusing electricity plans and ensure they get the best one for their specific household’s electricity needs.
"Energy Ogre truly is more of a broker agent," explained Energy Ogre's Chief Operating Officer David Kinchen. "Our members trust us to take actions on their behalf. We take this responsibility as seriously as possible. We are always trying to do the best by our members."
"We are really different from many other brokers out there. We're not trying to cut a deal with a provider that provides us kickbacks. Our members pay us to get them the best plan and rate available. That's our only financial obligation, which helps us be unbiased.”
What Do Energy Brokers Do in Texas?
Whether you’ve lived in Texas your whole life or you’re new to the Lone Star State, you’ve experienced the largest deregulated energy sector in the US. Over 90% of the population exercises their power to choose, and while it's nice having control over your electricity provider, you must sort through a lot of energy plans first. To avoid this, energy brokers in Texas step in to make the whole process manageable and cost effective. With over 1,300 electricity brokers in Texas (most of which work with commercial and industrial businesses), it’s a no brainer if you’re trying to cut down on electricity bills.
Energy Brokers in Texas are highly regulated to ensure that everyone is playing fair. To be a Texas electricity broker you must first be registered with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT). It’s one of the ways Texas can regulate their energy brokers and ensure they aren’t being dishonest to their customers.
Texas Energy Broker Regulations
- Compensation Disclosures
- Energy Brokers must disclose who is providing compensation to them, including REPs and other conflicts of interest. However, they aren’t required to disclose how much money they’re being paid from outside sources, and disclosures may be difficult to access.
- Here at Energy Ogre, we view remaining independent as one of our fiduciary duties, and as a core tenant of our business we have pledged to never accept outside funding, compensation, or bribes from anyone outside of Energy Ogre – nor are we owned or operated by anyone else.
- Client-Agency Relationship
- An energy broker may only sign you up for electricity if they receive your consent to do so, and they must provide you with a disclosure of how they can find and execute power contracts on your behalf. In Energy Ogre’s case, we are classified as a “Broker-Agent” and are able to execute contract negotiations on your behalf. However, if you’d prefer to greenlight the process yourself, you have the right to review any and all actions taken by us on your behalf, prior to their execution.
- Record Retention & Client Access
- In Texas, an Energy Broker must provide reasonable access to customer service to help guide their customers through the electricity-buying process and address any issues. In this way, an Energy Broker acts as your consultant and is your resource for all things electricity. Additionally, the PUCT (Public Utilities Commission of Texas) mandates that all complaints are reported to the commission and followed-up on in a reasonable and timely manner. That’s why we offer our money-back guarantee to ensure you’re satisfied with your services.
As the pioneer of residential electricity brokering in Texas, we wanted to ensure that regulations were put in place to prevent REPs and other large electricity corporations from taking further advantage of consumers.
Benefits of Using an Energy Broker in Texas for Your Residential Electricity
Here’s just a few benefits of using a service like Energy Ogre:
- It saves you time
- It saves you money
- You get the most cost-effective plan for you
- You get automatic renewal
- You receive helpful tips & info on Texas electricity and home energy savings
Using Electricity Brokers to Find Renewable Energy Plans
If you thought energy brokers were only good for people who use traditional energy—think again! If you’re interested in finding the best green energy plans, you can use energy brokers like Energy Ogre who can find you renewable-only plans at the lowest rate.
How to Choose the Best Energy Broker in Texas
If you’re looking for a great electric broker, Texas has plenty to choose from. But we think there are a few qualifications an energy broker must meet in order to be considered the best. See how they rank by asking these four questions:
Are They Independent?
You want to make sure you’re working with an independent energy broker—meaning they’ve never accepted money from REPs or other players in the Texas deregulated electricity market.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Energy brokers like Energy Simply and Power Wizard are owned by energy companies while Energy Ogre is not.
Energy Ogre is the largest independent energy broker in the state and we’re proud of it. We realize how easy it is for customers to get manipulated by electric brokers in Texas, so we’ve made it our mission to provide independent, unbiased and honest information to Texas residents.
What’s Their Technology?
Working with an energy broker gives you access to tools you wouldn’t otherwise have, but sometimes companies don’t have the right energy broker technology to provide you with the best service. For example, some energy brokers simply find you the best rates at the time you sign up without considering your household energy needs. Others will analyze your household electricity usage, find you the best plan at the time you sign up, but then leave you alone until it’s time to find a new plan once your contract expires.
That may sound okay, but our energy broker platform goes the extra mile. We constantly monitor the electricity market in the event we find a cheaper contract than the one you’re currently enrolled in. If the early termination fee (ETF) ends up justifying the savings you’ll get with your new contract, Energy Ogre will exit the old one and sign you up for the new one with your consent. We’re one of the only services that can guarantee this constant monitoring, ensuring you’ll always pay cost-effective electricity rates.
How Do They Help?
Most energy brokers find you a good rate and that’s it. And while some customers may be satisfied with that, we knew we could provide more. We like to call ourselves a “broker-agent” because we don’t just let our algorithm find you the best rates, we do so much more:
- We have a call center for you to ask questions and for us to provide advice tailored to your personal electricity needs
- We publish blogs and other resources about home energy savings and the Texas electricity market
- We have more online resources like the OgreCast and our YouTube channel.
How Much is Their Service?
Energy Ogre charges just $10 a month because we want our service to be accessible to all energy users. A membership with Energy Ogre gets you more than just the lowest electricity rate—we eliminate the stress of comparing and choosing energy plans every year.
Now that you know what to ask in order to identify the best energy broker in Texas, it’s clear that Energy Ogre rises well above the rest. We’re independent, utilize advanced technology, provide more than just low electricity rates, all for just $10 a month.
Commercial Energy Brokers vs Residential Energy Brokers
Before going into the difference between business energy brokers and energy brokers in the residential space, let’s dive into a bit of history.
Energy brokers used to mainly operate in the industrial and commercial space because large-scale businesses and factories require a lot of electricity to keep running. Energy brokers were hired to “help” these large companies, but some of these brokers were working for large REPs who would convince companies to sign long power contracts that benefited the REPs while costing the businesses a pretty penny. Because commercial energy brokers were able to make deals with REPs to get electricity at cheaper rates, businesses thought they were getting a good deal, but that wasn’t always the case.
While some energy brokers back then engaged in some pretty shady business, the energy brokers of today are much better. When energy brokers started working with Texas residents, they were able to use the same large-scale commercial tools to find homeowners the best household electricity plan, too. These tools include:
- Analyzing household electricity usage to find the most appropriate plan
- Constantly monitoring the market for better plans that may replace the current, more expensive plan
- Get access to exclusive rates that are traditionally only available to large commercial or industrial customers
When you think about everything an energy broker can do for you, it’s pretty unbelievable that Energy Ogre was the first company to make these tools available to residential customers. We’ve revolutionized the energy market for Texas residents—and we want you to benefit from it, too.
Energy Brokers FAQs
We hope you understand a little more about energy brokers and what they do, but here are some FAQs to help clear up the rest:
- What’s the difference between an online energy broker and an energy shopping site?
- Shopping sites like Power to Choose and Compare Power just list energy rates, they don’t actually sign you up.
- What else do people call “energy brokers”?
- You may hear terms like electricity shopping service, energy concierge, broker-agent, or energy consultant. However, there’s only one Energy Ogre!
- Each are a little different, so here’s what they mean:
- Electricity shopping service: It’s a service that shops for electricity for you—however, they may not always be monitoring the market for cheaper rates. They also might not fill the “agent” role either if they don’t provide you with personalized help.
- Energy concierge: An old-fashioned term for brokers or broker-agents that is meant to emphasize the “white glove” approach to electricity shopping. For those looking for more “agent” services, an energy concierge can likely help.
- Broker-agent: This is what Energy Ogre likes to call ourselves because we provide supplemental services beyond just shopping.
- Energy consultant: These people will help with personalized guidance and information, however they may not automate your shopping and renewal cycle.
- How do energy brokers get paid?
- Traditionally, they’re paid by commission per kWh. Energy Ogre, however, charges a flat monthly fee meaning that they’re not trying to sell you more to make more.
- Do energy brokers have marketing agreements with REPs?
- Unfortunately, many energy brokers have complex business relationships with REPs; some have agreements to sign their clients up with sponsored energy plans so the broker can get a kickback for using certain REPs. Others, like Energy Simply and Power Wizard, are actually owned by large electric utility companies. Energy Ogre, on the other hand, does not take these kickbacks or bribes from anybody else.
- How do energy brokers get discounted electricity rates?
- Many energy brokers have access to exclusive rates from certain REPs because they have a financial relationship with these energy providers. Unlike those energy brokers, we maintain good relationships with REPs, but we draw the line at accepting any money from them. We do have access to exclusive low rates from REPs that you can’t find anywhere else, but that’s because we’re making deals on your behalf, not ours. We profit when you profit, so we’ll never accept commissions or bribes from REPs or anybody else in the Texas energy market.
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