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    Electricity customers in Texas are receiving a helpful holiday gift from one retail energy provider, which is offering new rewards and incentives to any customers who switch away from their municipal utility and sign on with its electric distribution service.

    According to a November 8 release, Energy Company of America (ENCOA) is giving all Texas electricity customers the opportunity to start the holiday season with cheer by offering a new financial incentive to switch. The company, an independent retail energy provider that recently broke into the electric and natural gas distribution industries, offers electricity packages for homes, small businesses and even large industrial customers. In a mission statement, the company said it is committed to "helping customers lower their energy costs through simple, straightforward energy plans that provide peace of mind."

    To this end, ENCOA is now offering every new customer it receives that switches away from a utility or other retail energy provider a $50 gift certificate to any one of a numbers of retail stores. The gift cards can be used at Target, Starbucks, Citgo, Amazon or iTunes. The firm said it believes that by luring customers in with the gift cards, they will learn that ENCOA offers some of the best electricity rates anywhere in the country.

    ENCOA helps customers lower their energy bills by offering competitive plans that are developed through price negotiations and purchasing options through the wholesale electricity market. When the company identifies ways to lower electricity bills, it then passes these savings along to its customers. Already, ENCOA has grown and established itself in several states around the country, including Illinois, where it is competing with utilities ComEd and Ameren, Pennsylvania, which is home to PECO, PPL and Duquesne Light and Ohio, where Duke Energy operates.

    The company highly encourages switching electricity providers, and stated that the entire process only takes a few minutes. Several websites and other online resources have been created that help guide customers through the switching process, and even provide side-by-side comparisons to ensure the customer finds the best electricity rates.

    Often, customers who switch report saving as much as 30 percent on their monthly electric bills. Even when the savings are not this high, the average person who switches typically sees a 10 percent reduction in electricity rates.