The cost to purchase electricity in Houston, Texas, has dropped under deregulation … unless you buy renewable energy.AUSTIN, Texas, 2002-02-15 [SolarAccess.com] The Texas Electric Choice has added information to its Web site to provide cost comparisons for retail electric providers (REP) in the state. The data provide electric customers with a breakdown of the price per kilowatt-hour from competing REPs, as well as contract terms and conditions and information on how each REP generates its electricity. “Customers have told us they want an easy way to compare offers among different REPs and, with the changes we’ve made to our Web site, they can do just that,” explains PUC commissioner Rebecca Klein. A sample of rates provided for customers in the area historically served by Reliant Energy shows that the utility charges 8.62 ¢/kWh, while a consumer who switches to NewPower would pay 7.80 ¢, or a monthly saving of $8.20. Seven other REPs offer electricity at a lower cost than Reliant, and all use various sources. The only supplier to cost more than the former monopoly provider is Green Mountain Energy, which charges 9.20¢/kWh, representing a monthly premium of $5.80. GME is the only REP to provide power from renewable energy sources. As of January 1, the majority of Texans can choose their power supplier for home or office, and can comparatively shop for a REP as other products and services, based on key factors such as price, customer service or renewable energy. The ability to compare suppliers is significant as Texans use the site to learn their options under deregulation. Since January 1, the site has had 100,000 visitors, almost double from December of last year. The Texas Electric Choice Answer Center also logged a record number of callers in January, up 500 percent over an average month. The PUC encourages customers in Texas to ask REPs for an Electricity Facts Label which provides detailed information on electricity prices, contract terms, sources of generation and emissions levels. The label allows customers to compare offers from competitive REPs, and REPs certified by the PUC are required to provide customers with a copy of their label upon request.