In case you haven’t realized, Houston is heating up. As you blast your AC to fend off the summertime temps, your utility rates become more important to consider than ever.
Trent Crow knows how overwhelming choosing a power plan can be, and also that most Texans, once they choose their plan, are still overpaying for energy. This is why, in 2015, Trent founded Real Simple Energy to help Texans get the best deal. We had a chance to speak to Trent about his alternative approach to finding the best power plan without getting wrapped up in the fine print.
What inspired you to start Real Simple Energy?
I started this company after my own troubles trying to find an energy plan for my house. I found the process to be confusing, complicated, and overwhelming. This was really troubling for me because at the time I traded wholesale power and energy derivatives for a living. I often sold power directly to the electricity companies and they sold it to consumers. I figured, if I'm having trouble with this, the average person doesn't have a chance.
I realized that nothing about energy plan selection takes into account my particular energy usage. Plans are sold one-size-fits-all when, in fact, everyone uses energy in completely different ways.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about buying energy in Texas?
The biggest misconception is that the energy company is going to take care of you and treat you fairly. People think that with electricity, water, trash—all these utilities—they're almost getting a pass-through cost. What's actually going on with electricity is something entirely different: most people are getting charged way too much. This just isn’t a fair practice, especially when you’re dealing with a basic life necessity.
Just how much is the average Texan overpaying for energy plans?
People who live in houses overpay by an average of $500 per year and people in apartments overpay by about $300 per year. And one key metric that surprises people is that, according to government data, 96 percent of people in Texas are overpaying for electricity and don't realize it. We strongly feel that our costs for managing this for buyers easily pays for itself.
Let’s be honest: shopping for energy can be overwhelming. How do you cut through the noise and create an easy experience for the buyer?
Our goal is to understand our customer's individual usage profile and then do everything else on the backend in their best interest. We take the minimum amount of information to deliver the best product. We do a ton of math behind the scenes that most people either wouldn't do or don't know how to do.
What advice do you have for first-time homebuyers and new renters to make sure they don’t get taken advantage of when it comes to electricity?
Try to shop for the best deal the first time, but be aware that the business model of this entire industry is to jack your rate up at renewal. The first time you sign up with a company, no matter who it is, you're likely to get a pretty decent deal. After that, when you’re not thinking about it, they’ll take advantage of you.
Real Simple Energy clients saved 36 percent on energy compared to the average Texan in the last year. If you were in their shoes, what’s one item you’d buy with your savings?
Our average customer saves $500 a year. That’s almost $50 a month. I would probably have a nice meal out with friends once a month.
Why is it important to you that Real Simple Energy is 100 percent funded by its customers?
Our incentives with our customers are completely aligned. This keeps us working for our customers to deliver the best price. If we stop delivering the best price, then our customers won’t trust us. It’s important that we answer to our customers and not someone else.
Ready to beat the heat and save money at the same time? Find out more about Real Simple Energy online today.