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Electric Rate Plans Benefitting Your Community

When Texas consumers shop for great electric rates, the barrage of marketing messages can be difficult to analyze. Fixed electricity rates, variable rates, renewable energy, and a wide array of contract terms are overwhelming. The quality of customer service and ease of doing business also play a role in choosing an electricity company. For some consumers, the character of the electricity provider is important when comparing electricity plans.

Most electricity providers actively engage in giving back to the communities they serve. Community giving is usually in the form of volunteerism or financial support for charitable organizations. While some electricity providers spread their contributions among a broad base of charities, others concentrate their giving in particular areas like child advocacy or cancer research. While corporate stewardship is a common among electricity companies, some companies take the additional step of integrating it into their corporate mission.

4Change Energy

4Change Energy is an example of an electricity provider that has built charity into its core mission. 4Change Energy, as its name implies, seeks to make positive changes in the communities it serves by donating 4% of its annual profits to charitable organizations. The program is best described by 4Change Energy as “our neighbors in need drive our corporate mission.” The company currently supports four charities targeted at specific community needs. Customers participate in designating the allocation of contributions to these charities.

To fight hunger, 4Change Energy contributes to Feeding Texas. The American Cancer Society receives donations from 4Change Energy to aid in the quest to find cures for cancer. Heroes for Children also receives support in its mission to help children facing serious illness. Finally, 4Change Energy contributes to the American Red Cross to assist with disaster relief. Recent donations by 4ChangeEnergy will allow the American Cross to provide 500 snacks, 200 blankets, 100 hot meals, and 133 comfort kits to disaster victims.

Veteran Energy

Veteran Energy is another example of a giving-based electricity company. Veteran Energy supports veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families. Veteran Energy offers discounted electricity rates for customers with verified active or previous military service. Veteran Energy also contributes to fourteen charitable organizations focused on assisting these groups and their families.

Through its Power To Give BackTM program, Veteran Energy allows customers to select which affinity group receives a financial donation. Current affinity partners include organizations such as the Boot Campaign, Lone Star Veterans Association, Military Warriors Foundation, and Pets for Vets. Customers not affiliated with the armed services can also enroll with Veteran Energy and participate in directing charitable contributions to one of the affinity organizations. While these customers do not receive a discounted electric rate, they still receive a competitive rate while helping those who served their country.

4Change Energy and Veteran Energy are two great examples of Texas electric companies integrating charitable giving into their corporate mission. Allowing customers to have a voice in directing the allocation of charitable donations is an added bonus. Texas electricity customers valuing this approach to stewardship should consider 4Change Energy and Veteran Energy when shopping for electricity plans.

About: Charlie Hewitt

Charlie Hewitt has more than 25 years of in-depth energy experience having served in executive and managerial roles at some of the largest retail energy providers in North America. His expertise covers a wide range of retail energy disciplines including pricing, contracting, risk management, and credit. He holds an MBA from UT Arlington, MA and BS degrees in geology from UT Austin, and was a TXU environmental research fellow.

2 Comments on “Electric Rate Plans Benefitting Your Community”

  1. I really liked how you said that “Most electricity providers actively engage in giving back to the communities they serve.” It’s good to know that there also contributing to our local economy. I just barely moved out to a new neighborhood and I actually have a couple of electric rate plans to choose from. If I want to get solar down the road, what would be the best electric plan for myself?

    1. There are several approaches to choosing an electric rate plan if you are considering a rooftop solar system. The simplest approach is to shop for the lowest fixed price rate. This is always a sound strategy and works well if you reduce the amount of electricity you purchase using solar generation.

      A more sophisticated approach would be to select a time-of-use electric rate. These plans charge different rates for different time periods. Evening and night hours are deeply discounted and sometimes free depending on the plan. These plans work well with solar panels which only generate electricity during daylight hours. Essentially, you use solar to offset your usage during expensive peak hours and then pay very little for the electricity you use during off-peak hours when your solar panels and not in use. Check out TXU Energy and Champion Energy for examples of these time-of-use plans.

      Finally, there may be times when you generate more electricity than you use. Not all Texas electricity providers have excess generation buy-back programs. The ones that do have buy-back programs usually limit the programs to their customers. In other words, if you enroll with Provider A, you cannot participate in Provider B’s buy-back program. Texas electricity providers offering excess generation buy-back plans include TXU Energy, Amigo Energy, Green Mountain Electric, and Reliant.

      There you have it – low around-clock-rates, time-of-use plans, and excess generation buy-back plans. These are the primary considerations we recommend for customers considering rooftop solar systems.

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