Did you get a confusing letter from Reliant?

If so, you’re not alone.
Here’s what many of you got in the mail recently:

reliant_letter_top Reliant was trying to be helpful (and follow the rules), says the company.

Many readers have said it sounds like they’re being forced onto a new plan. That’s not the case, said Reliant spokeswoman Pat Hammond.
If you never chose to switch to a specific rate plan since deregulation in Texas began (Jan. 2002) then you were on a plan that, until recently, was called the Residential Flex Plan. It was a plan that could change month-to-month but generally adjusted every three months because Reliant tries to buy power for that large (but shrinking) block of customers for long periods of time to keep rates steady.
The recent letter was to notify customers that the rate will change effective late July.This has been happening throughout the state as natural gas — which is a key power plant fuel in Texas — has gone through the roof since Jan. 1.
The Residential Flex Plan is also being renamed the Monthly Flex Plan, which seems to be the main confusion. So the basic nature of the plan isn’t changing — it could always go up in price, and has — but the name is changing.
The rest of the letter encourages customers to consider moving to another Reliant rate plan, locking in rates for 12 months, 24 months, etc. Retailers like having customers on long-term rate plans not only because you’re less likely to cut and run but also because the most long term customers they have the easier it is to buy a more predictable amount of power long term to supply them. That generally means lower costs for them and for you.
Naturally, you don’t have to stick with Reliant but can shop around. The Public Utility Commission’s Power to Choose website compares plans by zip code and has added new data on complaints against the firms and some info on their financial backing.