Tara Energy is a subsidiary of Just Energy Group Inc., a publicly traded company (TSX:JE), and started in 2002. They have served electricity to hundreds of thousands of residential and commercial customers in Texas.
- Monthly Customer Charges
- Payment Options
Monthly Customer Charges
Monthly service charges are typical to see in deregulated companies. Companies will charge up to $10-12/month in addition to other monthly fees. Tara Energy shows a little big of edge in this category, only charging customers $5.25/month. The price cut can make a big different over a year, so this makes it a great option for some customers.
It's always nice to have several different payment options and Tara Energy offers it through credit or debit cards, ACH forms or electronic checks and regular checks. The only form they currently don't offer is with banking accounts which is becoming increasingly popular. Even though they don't offer banking account options yet, we think it's nice that they still have a majority of other forms of payments. This is nice for the customers who have a strong preference or need to use a different method over a period of time.
- Undisclosed Prices
- Contract Terms
- Other Fees
The only price that Tara Energy shares online is their fixed rates for electricity which is 9.2¢/kWh. This price is not great, but not terrible either. All other rates including variable electricity rates, and both fixed and variable for natural gas is not published online. This is not a good sign when companies are not willing to share information openly for the public. This means customers will have to call in or input personal information before receiving the quotes. They also don't share the price for a deposit. Several deregulated energy companies require a deposit and it's not helpful when a customer doesn't know how much will be required when initially signing up with the service. Overall, we believe the more transparent a company is with the public, the better for their business.
The shortest contract customers will get with Tara Energy is twelve months. This is really unfortunate because a big chunk of other companies offer month-to-month contracts. Many customers flock to shorter contract terms because they don't like the idea of not being able to cancel a contract if they need to.
Many deregulated energy companies have certain fees that they have in addition to the monthly rates. These include minimum service fees, termination, and late payment fees. Tara Energy doesn't have very competitive prices in comparison to others. They charge $175 for a cancellation fee and this is slightly higher than most where a good median is typically around $150. Also, they charge $9.95 for their minimum service fees. We've seen companies easily be able to cut this price in half. Even though this isn't the most expensive service fee we've seen, it definitely isn't in the competitive range with others. lastly, their late payment fee charges five percent which is typically taken from a year long contract. This can get pricey and also is pretty pricey when standing next to other companies.
The Bottom Line
Tara Energy is not the best company for deregulated energy. However, their parent company Just Energy is a much better choice. Tara Energy does not disclose some of the most important information customers are looking for. Not only that, but in all other categories you won't find Tara Energy at the top of the competition. Instead of looking to Tara Energy for deregulated energy, we suggest consumers look to Just Energy first. They are the parent company and offer more information than Tara currently does. Also, you would be getting almost the same services but with better pricing just based off that they are the parent company.