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Decoding Texas Electricity Refer-a-Friend Programs

refer-a-friend programs

This report originally appeared on the Bounce Energy Blog on August 5, 2011.

When choosing your Texas electricity provider, it's about way more than just rates (though, obviously low energy rates are key). Customers in the know also check out companies' referral programs, as this can be an easy way to cut costs on your electricity bill. And what's better for a friendship than saving each other money?

These spiffy programs allow you to tell your friends about how happy you are with your electricity company, and if they choose to sign up, you'll get cash or another form of reward. But not all referral programs are created equal.

After reading promotional material for many of the top Texas electricity brands, we've developed four ways to evaluate electricity refer-a-friend programs: what and how much you get per referral, how much your friends get, limitations to number of friends you can refer and how easy it is to get the word out about the referral program.

What and How Much You Get?
The best of the crop, based on information easily available on company's Web sites, is TXU Energy and Bounce Energy. Both of these companies offer both you and your referred friend $50 per friend referred. That can add up to tons of cash in your pocket (especially with Bounce Energy's Refer-a-Friend Program, as there is no limit to the amount of friends you can refer - but we'll get more into that later). It's kind of neat to note that while Green Mountain Energy does not come out highest in the money category, they throw in a tree planted for both yourself and your referred friend for each referral. Spark Energy rounds out the group we evaluated with the least per referral, at only $10 per customer (and nothing for the referred friend).

What and How Much Your Friends Get?
If you are planning to make a habit out of referring friends to your electricity provider, you better make sure your friends will be taken care of. Again, Bounce and TXU Energy come away the winner here: $50 per friend referred is something to be excited about - especially if you have lots of friends. But, surprisingly, several of these refer-a-friend programs give your friend nothing, with the idea that the deal that they get on electricity is sufficient. Although they may get a great electricity rate, isn't it worth a little extra time to ensure your friends get the same cash you do? Texas electricity companies that don't offer referred friends anything as part of the refer-a-friend program include Direct Energy, Kinetic Energy and Spark Energy.

No Limits!?
Many Texas electricity referral programs offer you a good chunk of change per referred friend, but then cap you off so even if you refer 30 friends, you only get a certain amount of money. If you like games with no limits, then your best bet is to go with Amigo Energy, Green Mountain Energy, Spark Energy or Bounce Energy. Of those reviewed, the company with the lowest limit is Direct Energy.

How Hard Do You Have to Work for Your Money?
Making you sweat to get referral dollars is no way to treat customers. When evaluating electricity companies referral programs, you need to think through how you influence all your friends to join your company of choice. The easiest way is through a referral code, and those that advertise this simple way include Bounce Energy, Champion Energy, Direct Energy, Kinetic Energy and Spark Energy. Bounce Energy suggests maximizing your credits by using social media options like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out to even more of your friends. Others reference that you'll get more directions once you log on to your online account. Some companies, like Green Mountain Energy, require your friend(s) to mail in a physical coupon in order to qualify for the referral program.

The Referral Program Score Card
Want more details? We put together the following score card based on our review. Some details could only be found through a login with each electricity company, which we've also noted with "NA". If you used any of these programs, please comment to us to share any additional details.

How'd we score them?
  • $50 for you: 2 points
  • $25 for you: 1 point
  • <$15 for you: 0 points
  • $50 for referred friend: 2 points
  • $25 for referred friend: 1 point
  • $0 for referred friend: 0 point
  • No limit for credits: 2 points
  • >$500 limit: 1 point
  • <$500 limit: 0 points
  • Limit not found (NA): 0 points
Spark Energy: 1
  • How much do you get? $10 bill credit
  • How much does your referred friend get? Nothing
  • Is there a limit to referral credits? No limit.
  • How to get the word out and get friends signed up? Referral code.
Dynowatt : 2
  • How much do you get? $25 check
  • How much does your referred friend get? $25 check
  • Is there a limit to referral credits? NA. More info available through a Dynowatt login.
  • How to get the word out and get friends signed up? NA. More info available through a Dynowatt login.
Direct Energy: 2
  • How much do you get? $25 Visa card
  • How much does your referred friend get? Nothing
  • Is there a limit to referral credits? Limit of $250 or 365 days after coupon is issued.
  • How to get the word out and get friends signed up? Referral code.
Kinetic Energy: 3
  • How much do you get? $25 bill credit
  • How much does your referred friend get? Nothing
  • Is there a limit to referral credits? Limit of $599 dollars every calendar year
  • How to get the word out and get friends signed up? Referral code.
Champion Energy: 3
  • How much do you get? $25 bill credit
  • How much does your referred friend get? $25 bill credit
  • Is there a limit to referral credits? Limit of $599 dollars every calendar year
  • How to get the word out and get friends signed up? Referral code.
Amigo Energy: 4
  • How much do you get? $25 bill credit
  • How much does your referred friend get? $25 bill credit
  • Is there a limit to referral credits? No limit
  • How to get the word out and get friends signed up? NA. More info available through a Amigo login.
Green Mountain Energy: 4
  • How much do you get? $25 bill credit & a tree planted.
  • How much does your referred friend get? $25 bill credit & a tree planted.
  • Is there a limit to referral credits? No limit.
  • How to get the word out and get friends signed up? Paper coupon mailed into GME once referred consumer signs up with company.
TXU Energy: 5
  • How much do you get? $50 bill credit
  • How much does your referred friend get? $50 bill credit
  • Is there a limit to referral credits? Limit of $599 dollars every calendar year
  • How to get the word out and get friends signed up? NA. More info available through a TXU login.
Bounce Energy: 6
  • How much do you get? $50
  • How much does your referred friend get? $50
  • Is there a limit to referral credits? No limit
  • How to get the word out and get friends signed up? Referral code, suggests to distribute widely via Facebook and Twitter for biggest results.

About the Author: Steph Pertuit is a regular shopper of electricity options, as she has worked in the industry at online comparison sites like ElectricityTexas and WhiteFence, and knows that an educated Texas shopper is a happy energy customer.



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