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Total Electric Cost Comparison Spreadsheet, Texas Electric Cost Calculator - Excel file free XLS download for individuals.  Contact me for business, or other than individual pricing.

I found a site that looked like it might do most of this at http://www.mytruecost.com/.  I quickly found better plans for my exact same usage with my XL program, so beware.

Use this excel spreadsheet file to shop providers and truly compare the cheapest Texas Electricity Rates for YOUR entire yearly electric bill, based on YOUR usage.  ONE low KWh usage number is not nearly enough information (like PTC-Power To Choose currently uses as a filter) to pick YOUR  lowest cost electricity provider, since almost everybody's usage varies greatly from month to month!  You might be surprised to see what you find...

New File Version (Feb 5, 2015) Fills in much more information for you automatically, including many of the low usage limits and fees!  Info on how to calculate using credits from your solar panel (selling power back).  Improved ease of finding best provider. If you have the option to choose your electric power provider, you have probably spent some time comparing the rates of different companies to decide who you should use.

To save some time while comparing different electric providers, I created an XL spreadsheet to do many of the calculations for you.  You will need to enter or estimate your monthly electricity usage to help decide which plan is best for you.  Look for the kWh usage on your monthly bills from last year and fill it in on the spreadsheet.  Take a guess for any missing months.  If necessary, adjust the usage for the extra insulation that you recently added to your attic.  Make sure to save the file with YOUR usage information on YOUR computer.  You will probably find it handy again in about a year.  If you have a Texas smart meter, you may be able to download your usage HERE.  Click on the USAGE TAB, pick your meter, then click the button to EXPORT REPORTS and pick the monthly data report.

Try to pick a provider that looks like it will be operational in a year.  It is quite a pain when your electricity provider declares bankruptcy (experience speaking here).  Also consider other fees--such as the fee for breaking the contract, if that is a possibility.

Download CompareElectricRates_Feb2015 if you would like to try the Excel spreadsheet.  This version of the file that allows you to import data from PowerToChoose.org and to do much faster comparisons than you could by manually entering all of the data.  You should find that this file allows a much better chance to find YOUR lowest cost electricity provider than by using the Power To Choose (PTC) web site. 

NOTE:  The PTC site was MUCH worse the last time I checked.  Providers are custom designing plans to be at the top of the PTC web site list (lowest cost provider) for the 500, 1000, or 2000 kWh pricing points that PTC checks now.  Below is an example of what the top rated (lowest cost) plans are starting to look like now on PTC.  It is easy to beat the PTC system, since it appears to have been designed for failure.  The top rated plans look to be some variation of the worst plan below (different slopes to the lines). This worst plan in the chart below allows you to be the top ranked PTC plan for ALL 3 pricing points, but probably be one of the most expensive plans in the world for consumers to choose.  Using the PTC site to pick a plan right now can be very a expensive mistake (Nov 2016)!!  Additional details in my proposed FACTS form.

This file allows you to sort the offers by different usage costs, your estimated yearly electric bill, and other items.  This file also calculates the monthly fee and kWh rates for many providers, so that you only need to verify the numbers for the lower cost providers by reading the FACTS sheet or by calling the provider.  You will still need to closely read the FACTS from PTC for a minimum usage fee for less than 500 kWh of usage.  This is a popular fee that is currently hidden from the PTC imported data file, since it is not included in the file.  You also need to closely read the FACTS because of all of the junk PTC plans being offered now.  WARNING!!,  Some of them also come up as the best priced plans using my program.  Improvements coming soon, hopefully.  I can only do so much with the CSV data file we have now.  If you want to manually input all of the data yourself, here is an older version of the file.  

Please make sure to verify all calculations with the provider before you make a decision on electric providers.  If you DO NOT agree to verify the calculations, you ARE NOT authorized to download the spreadsheet.  You should read off various months of your calculated bill amounts to the new provider candidate and make sure the untaxed calculations roughly match BEFORE YOU SIGN UP.  The junk plans being offered now on PTC MANDATE that you input YOUR actual usage numbers, and definitely NOT the numbers  500, 1000, or 2000 kWh.  You MUST have EXCEL or another spreadsheet program that opens Excel files on your computer to use this spreadsheet.  You need real MS Excel for the latest version of the file.

You should use this program to sort the offers by YOUR price for a year of electricity, hidden Fees excluded.  The program also allows you to manually input the additional data required for a more exact calculation, after you have manually read the FACTs.  If you wonder why this program is necessary and why you have to manually read every FACTs label of interest to compare your yearly electric cost between different providers, maybe you should talk to PowerToChoose.org and ask them to explain it to you.  Better yet, Email the governor and ask him to explain it. Call your state government representative and ask him.  Email your local newspapers or Mr. Trump.  Feel free to link to this page.

The Big Question You Should be Asking
 (Are they making these calculations difficult on purpose?)

It seems to me that the answer is yes.  The complete pricing for many of the plans on Power to Choose, can be defined by providing 13 numbers or less to a computer program.  The most complex plans could probably be defined by less than 35 numbers.  Numbers can be read by computers. Put all these numbers in a database, and you can calculate the lowest cost provider from thousands of plans in seconds.  Don't think that is possible to define the plan prices that easily?  Look at this file and tell me why not?  The numbers that the provider will input are shown with a white background with blue letters.  Everything else is calculated.  The BLUE background numbers are sent to the CSV database.

What do you want to know when you are looking for the lowest cost electricity provider?  I want to know the bottom line on how much their plan costs for a year of service.  I don't want to read about how much they are paying somebody else, how they are tricking PTC in to a top rating, or how to write a computer program to calculate their price.  I just want to know the price.  And do you know what else I want?  I DO NOT want to be forced to read ANY of the FACTS labels for ANY of the plans I am considering, (this extra step prevents many people from switching providers and saving $$$).   Just give me the 13+ numbers that I need in a CSV database for all plans and I will do the calculations myself if PTC refuses to do them. 

So far, Power to Choose has chosen not to collect and save these 10 to 35 numbers in a database to define each plan pricing.  That is probably why so many people are wasting so much time and money each year.  That is probably why so many people STILL overpay for electricity. In the meantime, the state of Texas (consumers like you and me) are still paying power to choose (Public Utility Commission??) employees for a job well done.

How do we solve this problem?  It is actually pretty easy if you really WANT to solve the problem.
    1.  Create a standardized FACTS to be used by every electricity provider.  I have already mostly done that part here. 
        Complaint: Oh, but I can NOT define my pricing with that form! 
Fine, use the Alternate FACTS form and PTC could mark all of your problem prices as estimates.  Advise any potential customers to verify every single monthly price before they sign up.  If you can not define your pricing with either form, just rely on the old FACTS sheets that you have to manually read and see how many people sign up for your plan.

        Complaint: It will take too much time to do all of that  I don't know how.
        Reply: If you can not calculate how much your customers monthly bill will be with your own plan, then who can do it? See the discussion below about how many years of time customers are wasting each and every year reading and interpreting the current FACTS labels being used today.

        Complaint: I do not want everybody to know how much I am charging.  I will not do it.
        Reply: It seems the whole spirit of allowing people to choose their own electricity company is that they can pick one that will save them the most money.  You can't do this without knowing all the prices.  Only plans that complete one of the 2 standardized FACTS forms should be tracked in the PTC database. Without being in the PTC database.....

        Complaint: It is not possible to do that.  We need an order from the Texas legislature to do that.
        Reply to the Texas PUC: Make this a voluntary form., High priced and junk plan providers will not want to fill out the form. Better for us consumers.  If you need to CYA, then put a check box on the PTC web site that says you only want to view the voluntary submission prices.  If PTC will not do it, are there any good deed web guys out there that want to volunteer to set this up and contact all plan providers?    God will remember.  I could to it in Excel, but I am not a web page designer.....

        Complaint: It will be too expensive to do that.  it is not in the budget.
        Reply to the Texas PUC:  You have permission to use this proposed FACTS form for FREE and start sending it out TODAY. You do NOT have permission to alter in any way that it makes if MORE DIFFICULT for consumers or businesses to find the lowest cost electricity provider for their EXACT YEARLY USAGE.  I would suggest protecting all sheets with a password.  You may replace the check mark input boxes with numerical input so that anybody could fill out this form using FREE Google Sheets.  If you are unable to do this and agree to start collecting most plan information and make it publicly available, I will remove the check box input for you FREE.

    2.  Put this information in a CSV database for every provider.
        Complaint: Oh, but that is not easy to do.  It will take years to implement. 
        Reply to the Texas PUC:
Well, give me access to all of the standardized FACTS that are filled in (in XLS file format), and I can do it.  Quickly.  Maybe today.  Definitely within a week.  I can have a program online here that will automatically create the database (in minutes), if Power to Choose refuses to do it.  I plan to offer it for FREE.  If I can do it, so can many others.  HOW MANY MORE YEARS MUST THIS NONSENSE GO ON!!  Google:
Electricity deregulation in Texas, approved by Texas Senate Bill 7 on January 1, 2002

    3.  Have a program or web site that will read the database and calculate the cost for an entire year of electricity for each household, and give them the top 10+ cheapest providers specifically for their usage.
        Complaint: Oh NO, that is not easy to do.  It will take years to implement. 
        Reply to the Texas PUC:
I can modify the program offered for free above.  Quickly.  Maybe today.  Definitely within a week.  The revised program will do exactly that, if Power to Choose refuses to do it.  I plan to offer it for FREE, as it is now.  If I can do it, so can many others.  You have had how many years now to do this?

        Complaint: Oh, but people will not spend the time to input their monthly electricity usage. It is just too hard. 
They can put in a few months and guess the rest.  This information may also be available online
HERE. They can also go meet their neighbor and ask them what their usage is in the middle of summer and/or winter and share a beverage.  PTC could allow you to input your meter number and retrieve this information for you.  The customer could write these 12 numbers down and use them again next year.  If the proposed form was in use now, they could possibly find these numbers in the file on their phone that they use to check their bill each month.

Problem solved.  Have we consumers gained anything by doing this?  Well, let me see.  Maybe 1/2 a billion dollars or more per year?  Maybe MUCH more.

Google says that there are over 8 million households + maybe 2 million businesses in Texas. Wikipedia.org site says: 85%[1] of Texas power consumers (those served by a company not owned by a municipality or a utility cooperative) can choose their electricity service from a variety of retail electric providers (REPs) Let's say that at least 8 million people can pick their electricity provider.

If 2 million people can skip reading these FACTS forms each year (because they are standardized and included in the PTC CSV database) we consumers save a lot of time.  If each person saves 60 minutes in their search for a low cost provider, this saves 120,000,000 minutes (228 years) of wasted time every single year. The proposed FACTS file I created allows you to put in your own numbers to do these time/money savings calculations. 

If 2 million people read the FACTS and ATTEMPT to switch each year, then maybe 4+ million are NOT switching providers each year because it is CURRENTLY a lot of trouble to make an informed decision.  Some were probably mislead by top rated junk plan offers and made a poor choice. If the lowest cost provider could be found in minutes and they could save hundreds of dollars, how many people would switch providers each year?  Probably more than 4 million.

Imagine this situation: You visit the Power To Choose website and input
    1.  Your meter number or you manually input your monthly usage and zip code.
    2.  The date your service expires and how soon before it expires that you want the Emails to start.
    3.  Your Email Address and then check the box saying: I only want to see fixed price plans lasting 12 months or longer.
    4.  You tell PTC to start Emailing you the 10 lowest price plans for your usage every day until you pick a new provider.  You tell PTC to use last years usage numbers, an average of the last 2 years, last years numbers adjusted by some percentage, or some other method.
    5.  You sign up with a new provider, or get your old provider to do a price match.
    6.  You click a button in the PTC Email that says:  I signed up for a 12 month plan.  Remind me again before it expires next year.
    7.  This takes maybe 15 minutes the first year, and very little time every year after that.  Is the 4 million number high enough?

If each of these 4 million consumers could save $120 per year, then consumers are losing 4 X 120 = $480 million wasted dollars each year going to higher cost electric providers because PTC does not provide the information needed. I have asked the head of the PUC to give me her estimate for these 2 numbers, but no response after weeks.  Why would she NOT start sending out the proposed FREE FACTS form today and start saving consumers all of this this time and money?  Another week passes, another $9 million dollars is lost......

If you multiply 480 million dollars by 12 years, you come up with 5.7 BILLION DOLLARS.  That should be enough lost time and money that somebody in power would force changes (or somebody would be fired or thrown in jail). Maybe people will start calling and sending emails to their elected representatives, PUC officials, and the media.  Maybe you can get the head of the Texas PUC to respond to you or your elected representative.

The only thing standing in the way of these savings is getting the required data in to an online CSV database.  I was told there is a company that manually does this, handles your switches, and charges $120/year for their service (is the $120 number high enough?).  To get this done for everybody else, this will probably take somebody in government to make this happen.  Give them a nudge or elect somebody that will fix this.....

If people are not wasting time reading FACTS, they might be able to enjoy taking more frequent walks and enjoying life. They might do volunteer work somewhere and save a life.  They might get healthier.  It might help save their own life.  If they donate some of the money they save, this might also save some lives.

If you do not have Excel, below is a partial summary of the information in my proposed FACTS file above.  NOTE, the form seems to calculate correctly on my android phone or PC using Google Sheets, except that the check boxes do not work (check boxes are not needed by consumers). Electricity providers would need to use Excel 2003 or newer to fill in the check boxes, or the form would need to be modified.  This will be an easy way to check your electric bill using your phone each month and keep a record of monthly usage, assuming the Texas PUC adopts the proposed form. 

Simple chart to allow easy yearly electricity cost calculations.  This could be the standard FACTS used by all Electric Providers..  Electric provider to fill in red values.
Plan Name:   Summer 2015 questionable plan           Monthly Fixed Fee:  $2.95

Monthly Total Usage Between    Cents per kWh      Add On Fee ($)         Credit ($)
     0                       499                         8.5                          10                             0   
  500                      999                         8.3                            5                             0
1000                    1999                         8.2                            0                             0
2000                    3000                         8.1                            0                           20       
3001                999,999                        7.3                            0                           35

Free electricity times and dates, if applicable.

I have noticed that there are now 1 or more different companies that will do these calculations for you.  Apparently they get a commission from the company that you finally decide to use or charge a fee.  I do not know anything about them, but I have noticed that: 
    1.  Politicians might be influenced by lobbyists with money or people sending them mass Emails, or not.
    2.  Companies that do these calculations for you might be influenced by whoever is paying them to be at the top of their list and for advertising.

If you would like to make a donation for this spreadsheet, click the BUY NOW! button below and fill in the desired dollar amount --OR-- do some research, find a worthy organization, and THEN make a donation to them.  Here is one that I support.  Or, send out some emails and make some phone calls to help stop the consumer bleeding.

Good luck with it!

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