Ambit Energy, First Choice Power to launch prepaid electric programs (Dallas)

A pair of Dallas electricity retailers are on the verge of rolling out a new way for consumers to buy electricity.

Dallas-based Ambit Energy and Irving’s First Choice Power are working on the technological equivalent of putting a coin slot on new electric smart meters.

From their perspective, making electric meters function like parking meters will expand the potential customer base and combat unpaid bills. Additionally, pay-ahead power could even make consumers more conscientious about how they use electricity, the vendors argue.

“We’re able to monitor usage and provide feedback to customers in ways we’ve never done before,” said Jere Thompson Jr., CEO of Ambit Energy.

Traditionally, low-credit customers have had to put down two months’ worth of electricity payments before getting service activated. Since deregulation, those customers have typically paid a higher rate for each kilowatt-hour because the risk of bad debt is built into that rate.

Ambit’s new plan, set to be launched April 14, will cost 20% to 40% less than current prepaid electricity costs.

“It’s all coming down because the risk is coming out of the equation,” Thompson said.

Prepaid electricity customers would fill up their accounts by making a payment at a payday lender or money transfer office. The retailers equate the process to filling up the gas tank on your car. You can put a little in or fill up the tank for a full month.

Read the full story in the Dallas Business Journal.

Ambit Lowers Rates Again in Texas!

Effective today, April 1, 2010, we’ve lowered the rates again on our Texas term plans!

Click Here to View Your Rates!

Save On Electricity

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Ambit Advantages Rewards Program

If you’re like most energy customers, you’re probably not used to generosity from your energy provider. So you probably won’t believe this next part. If you’re an Ambit Energy customer, we actually appreciate your business. And we want to reward you for becoming, then staying, a loyal customer.

That’s why we’ve created one of the most attractive customer rewards programs in the industry. We want you to sign up, then stick around. So here’s what we’ve got:

A Fabulous Welcome Gift

When you become an Ambit customer, you’ll receive a Welcome Gift just for enrolling. Weird, huh? Right now, that gift is a travel voucher good for a FREE 3-Day/2-Night stay for two at a 3-Star hotel at one of 25 exciting destinations nationwide.

Earn Free Energy!

Once you’re an Ambit customer and saving money, you can save even more. In fact, you can all but eliminate your Ambit Energy payment every month when you refer enough customers to use our service.

Travel Rewards

Need to get away? We can help. As a customer, you have two ways to earn free travel. You can refer customers or you can earn Rewards Points that can be redeemed for all sorts of trips, cruises and getaways. And that’s for being an Ambit customer.

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What is Energy Deregulation?

For as long as most of us can remember, public utilities have been operated as regulated monopolies. In the last few years, state by state, those utilities have been, or are being, deregulated. What does that mean? Before energy deregulation, one company provided all aspects of your electric service–generation, sales, delivery, billing, and support. After deregulation, some or all of these components were separated. The rules differ from state to state, but generally speaking, the power plants, salesmen, retail suppliers, billing companies, and delivery companies (the ones who own the poles and wires) are no longer a single company. In some states, like Texas, those are all separate companies now. This benefits you because now you have choices. Your options are not dictated to you by one company.

Ambit Energy has stepped up to the plate, and now competes as a retail energy company. Furthermore, Ambit Energy has created a dynamic marketing plan that allows its Independent Consultants to gather customers by simply educating their family, friends, and acquaintances about the benefits of rate competition in home energy! It is called one-to-one or network marketing and we believe it is the most powerful business model ever conceived. Anyone can do it.

Deregulation of the Texas Electricity Market

Electricity deregulation in Texas was the result  of Texas Senate Bill 7 on January 1, 2002. According to the law, deregulation is to be phased in over several years.

As a result, most Texas power customers (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) which includes the incumbent utility (usually a subsidiary thereof). The incumbent utility in the area still owns and maintains the local power lines (and is the company to call in the event of a power outage) and is not subject to deregulation. Customers served by cooperatives or municipal utilities can choose an alternate REP only if the utility has “opted in” to deregulation; to date, only the area served by the Nueces Electric Cooperative has chosen to opt in.

Since 2002, approximately 85% of commercial and industrial customers in Texas had switched power providers at least once. Approximately 40% of residential customers in deregulated areas of the state have switched from the former incumbent provider to a competitive Notable Retail Electric Providers.

Six Benefits of Energy Deregulation

Here are six benefits of Energy Deregulation to name a few:

1. Energy deregulation creates a level playing field for future industry rivalry and competition by ensuring that all companies have an equal chance to provide service to electricity consumers.  Basically deregulation means that the consumer, not the provider, will now call the shots in the electricity market.

2. Energy deregulation lowers prices for residential consumers by empowering them to choose their electricity supplier. What if your only soda option was Pepsi? If Pepsi is your thing then you’d be happy, but if you’re a fan of Coke or Dr. Pepper, you wouldn’t be happy with Pepsi as your only option would you?

3. Energy deregulation equalizes unjustifiable regional differences in electricity prices. While the average price of electricity in the U.S. is about 7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), it varies widely from state-to-state. This range is from about 5 cents to 10 cents per kWh. Deregulatory initiatives that are underway in many states foreshadow the benefits under nationwide deregulation.

4. Energy deregulation increases jobs and benefits local communities. Unfortunately many large utility companies that have a monopoly in their market do not want consumers to have the ability to choose alternative providers. These companies have used scare tactics, intense lobbying and outright deception to convince many local communities that deregulation will hurt them.

5. Energy deregulation benefits the environment by empowering electricity consumers to be smarter, more demanding shoppers. This means that power companies will be held to higher standards of efficiency and cleanliness. This will ensure that your community is provided with the power they want without increased pollution.

6. Energy deregulation increases service reliability. Under the regulated monopoly model, consumers cannot change to a new provider when their current provider proves unreliable. Under competitive conditions, failure in service will be met with consumer rebellion and subsequently loss of profit, which then strengthens the incentive to maintain higher standards of service.  Just as deregulation and competition in other industries have resulted in improved safety and reliability, energy markets will benefit when liberalization occurs.