Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Texans Get Another Choice On Where Their Power Comes From

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Texans can now choose to get their power from only wind or natural gas.

Texans can now choose to get their power from 100 percent Texas-drilled natural gas.  Through a new option from Direct Energy, a retail electric provider, customers can pay a little more — about six dollars extra a month on the average homeowner’s bill* — to get their power just from Texas gas. In Texas, Direct Energy serves cities like Houston, Dallas, Midland, and Brazoria County. Their Texas branch started the “True Blue” plan for Texans only. The company says the idea for the energy plan came in the interest of attracting a certain demographic of consumers in the Lone Star State.

“The True Blue product was meant to tap into the tremendous amount of pride in Texas,” says Direct Energy general manager Rob Comstock. “We felt that this was a great way to offer a product to customers that want to support that part of the economy, the natural gas business, and have a tremendous amount of pride in the state and what we do here.”

But if being “true blue” isn’t your thing, the company has also announced another new plan called “New Leaf,” which takes a more renewable approach. Those opting into “New Leaf” will purchase their energy completely from wind.

The “New Leaf” option is just one of hundreds of other plans already available to Texans wishing to get their power from only renewable sources. 

According to the Texas government website www.powertochoose.org, Texas energy companies offer plenty of 100 percent renewable energy plans in each Texas region. But these options tend to be a little more expensive than nonrenewable options.

For Central Texans with public utilities, there is the popular GreenChoice option with Austin Energy, which costs $25 extra with 100 percent renewable resources. San Antonio residents can opt into the Windtricity program, which allows customers to source up to 100 percent of their power from renewables. That will cost the average consumer $12 extra on their monthly bill.

Of course, anybody purchasing from these energy programs will not be fueling their homes directly with wind energy or natural gas. In the case of Direct Energy, the company uses the premiums customers pay to purchase natural gas and wind energy from outside sources, which becomes a percentage of energy generated on the grid.

Comstock says that with the New Leaf plan, “You are guaranteeing that the amount you consume, an equal amount, at minimum, is being produced through renewable sources.”

*Prices calculated throughout this post were done using an average use of 1200 kWh a month based on 2011 statistics electric consumption in Texas.

Elizabeth Trovall is an intern with StateImpact Texas. 


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