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Finding the Best Residential Electricity Rates using the EFL

May 24,2016

Finding the best residential electricity rates in Texas requires a little bit of digging into the meat of a plan. Every plan is required by the state to have an electricity facts label, or EFL. This label explains the details of the plan, including a breakdown of how the residential electricity rates are derived. It’s important to look at these documents, as they will tell you the true nature of a plan. Some plans may look really good at first, but the EFL may say otherwise.Finding the Best Residential Electricity Rates using the EFL

Some plans advertise a low rate, such as 8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). That sounds like a really good residential electricity rate, but is it really? Upon examining the EFL, you may come to find that the 8 cents per kWh only applies if you use between 501 and 1000 kWh of electricity within a billing cycle. If you use more or less than that range of electricity, your electricity rate could jump up as high as 10.5 cents or more per kWh.

The EFL will give you this information and a lot more. It will tell you what the base charge is, which is the amount you pay every month regardless of how much electricity you use, and it will also tell you if this fee is waived for using a certain amount of electricity in a billing cycle. Some plans like the example above may do that. They’ll waive the monthly fee over a certain limit, because it impacts the rate. The advertised rates generally take into account all of the fees and charges in a typical billing cycle.

The EFL also contains information regarding the energy content of your electricity. This means that they will tell you how much of your electricity comes from coal, nuclear, natural gas, and renewable energy. Anyone looking for a renewable energy plan should consult the EFL to ensure they are paying for a reasonable amount of renewable energy.

If the plan you have selected has a contract term, this will be listed in the EFL as well. The contract term determines how long your Texas residential electricity rate will remain the same. Fixed rate plans lock in your rate and do not change, regardless of market changes. If a piece of legislation alters the costs of generating or transmitting electricity, or if the utility makes changes to the cost of transmitting electricity, your rate could change, but normal market occurrences such as supply and demand will not affect it.

Choosing Your Own Energy Plan

May 17,2016
by dmirza

Having the power to choose your own energy provider is an immense benefit for your home. Years ago, Texas residents could only get their energy from one organization: their local utility. The utility purchased shares of electricity from generation facilities, and then sold it to consumers. As a result, electricity rates were often high and offered little benefit outside the direct use of electricity.

Now, with deregulation, the power is in the hands of the people. We get to choose who we buy our electricity from. The electricity comes from various generation facilities like wind or solar farms, coal plants, and natural gas plants. Retail energy providers (REPs) buy shares of this electricity and sell it to consumers. The utility no longer sells electricity, but they do transmit it to consumers as well as maintain the transmission lines.Choosing Your Own Energy Plan

Being that there are several REPs selling electricity, and that each one wants to bring in customers, they compete with each other for the customer’s business. This results in lower prices, because it can be very difficult to attract new customers if you have the highest prices in town. Even further, REPs offer different kinds of plans as well. These plans vary in length, energy content, and some may have other incentives.

Having the power to choose between not just different providers, but also different plans means you can tailor the electricity for your home. Do you plan to live in your home for a very short time, or want to wait for rates to drop? Variable rate plans are month to month with no contract, so you can switch at any time. Found a good rate and want to keep it long term? Fixed rate plans let you lock in your rate for up to three years. Want to use 100% renewable energy? There are plans available that let you have that.

Choices are the heart of a society, and making the choice to have cheap, effective energy is a benefit to you and your family. Bring the power to your home by exercising your power to choose, and search through dozens of plans for the one that will brighten your home and keep your bank account happy.

Shopping for Cheap Electricity Rates in Texas

May 13,2016

Do you know about deregulation? Or how it affects your energy bills? Beginning in 2002, the majority of Texas became deregulated, meaning that utilities could no longer control the price of electricity or offer singular plans for residents. This opened up the energy market to bring in competition, leading to several retail energy providers (REPs) that offered different plans for consumers to take advantage of.

All of this competition means one thing: cheap electricity rates in Texas. With several REPs competing for business, it tends to drive down prices. Additionally, many REPs will offer special incentives or alternative energy plans to consumers as well. These could include special rebates, energy credits, green energy sources, and more.Gas processing industry
Cheap Texas electricity rates come in different forms as well. You can get plans that are variable, with no contract, but the rate can change each month. You can also get fixed rate plans that lock in your rate for the duration of a contract. Most of these types of plans range between 3 and 36 months in length. They are a great way to keep cheap electricity rates for a long period of time.

Other plans may include green energy, electricity sourced from renewable like wind or solar power. They usually run on a contract for the same length of time as other fixed rate plans. Every plan has an electricity facts label (EFL) that will tell you how much of your electricity comes from renewable sources.

Shop Texas Electricity lets you browse dozens of providers and hundreds of plans just by entering a zip code. Once you enter your zip code, we’ll show you all of the plans available for your area, complete with the average price per kilowatt hour, which includes base charges, transmission charges, and assumes a mid-range energy use, and we’ll tell you how long the contract term lasts, as well as any special offers like rebates, credits, and green energy.

Low Commercial Energy Rates and Low Energy Use Help Your Business Save Money

May 11,2016

Running a small business means always having to monitor your bottom line. The profitability of your business affects its longevity, so keeping costs down is a major priority for any business. One way to do that is to manage the commercial electricity rates of your Texas business. Finding a cheap energy plan and doing all you can to keep energy use down will help minimize the overhead costs of your business.

The first thing you’ll want to do is find an inexpensive energy plan. Shop Texas Electricity helps businesses with that by creating custom tailored plans based on your energy use history. They will use the data from your previous years of electricity use and contact several retail energy providers, finding one who will offer a low commercial energy rate for your Texas business. Once you have a low cost plan, lock in that rate with a fixed rate contract. This will keep your rate from changing in the coming months, even if energy demand goes up along with prices.Low Commercial Energy Rates and Low Energy Use Help Your Business Save Money

Now that you’ve found a good plan, you’ll need to make a good plan for your energy use. Using Energy Star certified equipment can reduce your energy usage by 20-30% for those devices. Computers, monitors, printers, and copiers all have Energy Star rated options, and they’ll save you a decent amount of energy over their lifetime.

Keep your HVAC system working at peak efficiency by having it serviced once every six months, preferably in the early spring and early fall. An HVAC specialist will make sure the system is working efficiently and correct any issues that may be causing it to lose efficiency, meaning you’ll get a lot more out of it for less energy. Every one to three months, change the filter in your HVAC’s intake. When this filter is dirty, it reduces airflow and causes the system to work harder to move air.

Cut back on high energy use by increasing the thermostat temperature in the summer and decreasing it in the winter. Every degree of difference from your preferred temperature can affect your energy bill by 1-3%. Make sure you keep your office sealed up tight and no air is escaping through windows or under doors. Lost air conditioned air is a major expense, so keep it inside to reduce energy use.

Next, switch any incandescent lights to CFLs or LEDs. These types of bulbs use about 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and if your office has to lit all day long, it can save you a lot of energy. If possible, use as much natural light and task lighting as possible to further reduce energy use from lighting.

How to Find a Plan with the Best Dallas Electricity Rates

May 10,2016
by dmirza

Dallas electricity rates fluctuate on a daily basis, sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse. Because these rates are constantly changing, it’s important to understand the plan options you have available to you when choosing electricity plan in Dallas. These plans can have varying contract lengths, energy source content, and of course prices. While many of us just look for the best deal (lowest price), some of the finer details could change how enticing that low price might actually be.

Prepaid electricity plans work for those who have very strict budgeting guidelines and keep a good account of how much energy they use monthly. Because you’re limiting how much you’re spending per month on energy, Dallas electricity rates for these plans tend to be higher than other plans.How to Find a Plan with the Best Dallas Electricity Rates

Variable Rate Plans

These plans forego having a contract, allowing consumers to switch plans or even providers any time they wish. Sometimes these plans can have pretty decent rates, and other times not so much. The Dallas electricity rates for variable plans change every month, so your cost depends on the energy market.

Fixed Rate Plans

By locking in your rate for a length of time, you can potentially save a fair amount of money over a variable rate plan. This is especially true if you lock in a low rate just before winter or summer starts and energy consumption spikes. The best part about these plans is no matter how much the market changes, your Dallas electricity rates won’t change for the duration of your contract period.

Green Plans

Green energy plans use renewable energy sources like solar and wind power to supplement or replace coal and natural gas sourced electricity. The Dallas electricity rates for green energy plans tend to be a bit higher than nonrenewable energy plans of the same length, but they come with the knowledge that you’re benefiting the planet by using clean energy.

EFLs

Check the electricity facts label (EFL) of each plan you’re interested in. The EFL will break down the Dallas electricity rates of individual plans, showing you what portion goes toward purchasing electricity, distributing electricity, and all associated fees and charges. The EFL will also tell you where your electricity is sourced from, including what percentage comes from renewable energy sources.

Fan-tastic Ways to Keep Cool and Save Energy

April 28,2016
by dmirza

With the temperatures rising, we’re all looking for the best ways to keep cool for the coming summer. Some of us look forward to chilling in a pool, some going to the beach, and some relaxing in the air conditioned comfort of their own homes. If you’re utilizing that last step, we’ve got some tips to help you keep your home cooler without using as much electricity.

Fans

Many people don’t consider using their fan when the AC is on. It seems like a waste of electricity to have both the fan and AC running. But in reality, doing this can save a fair amount. It takes a lot less energy to operate a fan than it does to maintain the temperature on the thermostat. By running a fan and staying under its cool breeze, you can actually raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees without sacrificing comfort. Every degree you raise the temp can mean a 1-3% savings on your energy bill. Fan-tastic!Fan-tastic Ways to Keep Cool and Save Energy

 

Maintenance

Maintaining your AC is crucial to its efficiency. If you haven’t already, schedule a tune up with a professional HVAC technician today before the heat really cranks up (along with service call costs). Regular maintenance every 6 months will keep you AC working at peak efficiency and keep your home cooler for less energy.

It’s also a good idea to check on your filter every month. Filters should be cleaned or replaced every 1-3 months, depending on how dirty they get. A clogged filter reduces airflow, and that means your AC has to work harder to cool the house down.

 

Air Leaks

Keep all windows and doors leading outside shut to reduce lost air. If you find cracks or gaps around windows and doors, use weatherstripping or caulk to seal them up and save even more. Don’t forget to close the damper in your fireplace if you have one as well!

During an HVAC call, have the technician check on the ductwork for your HVAC system. If any segments have come loose or developed gaps, get them sealed. A lot of lost AC comes from unsealed ducts leaking air into the attic long before they exit a vent in your house.

 

Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat to turn the AC off for the times you’re not home can have a major impact on your energy bill. During the 8 or so hours everyone is at work or school during the day, no one is taking advantage of the cool air, so it’s costing you extra money to have a cool house no one gets to experience. The same can be said for the time people are asleep. You can raise the temperature a few degrees on the thermostat and still be comfortable since it’s not as hot overnight. Turn on a fan for added comfort.

The Energy Efficient Home is the Home of the Future

April 27,2016
by admin

During the past few years, much clamor has been brought forward on how existing natural resources have slowly dwindled down to alarming levels. Coupled with an increasing awareness on how current energy resources created a negative impact on the environment, more and more governments around the world are slowly shifting their focus towards energy conservation as well as alternative and cheap electricity sources. In line with these efforts is the continuing drive towards creating more energy efficient homes that would pave the way towards achieving the perfect home of the future — a home that is so revolutionary that it can produce as much or even more energy than it can consume. This is in fact in alignment with the Department of Energy’s plan of building homes that are at least 70% more energy efficient. What is an Energy Efficient Home? An energy efficient home can be simply defined as a home that doesn’t waste energy or utilities, whether you’re in Dallas or Houston and consuming significant amounts of electricity. Appliances, facilities and other energy-consuming elements in an energy efficient home are working in an economically and ecologically-sound manner. The goal is to cut energy consumption by 50% or even more. However, people need not wait for these advancements to materialize as they can start practicing certain habits in the home that will make it more energy efficient as some of these habits described below will do. People now have the power to choose which practices they can do to save energy. Ways to Make Your Home Energy Efficient * Power your home with solar energy: Technological advances in this field have made energy production at home through solar energy a more viable and more economically sound alternative. Texas homes can save much on electricity by using solar energy systems in their homes. Solar panels in energy-efficient homes have entire sections of walls and the roof covered with solar panels that can harness the power of the sun and convert it to electricity. * Use only energy efficient appliances: When choosing appliances, it would be well worth the investment if the item chosen are certified with an Energy Star seal, which means it is more energy efficient than standard ones and in fact can reach up to 90% less energy consumed. This includes air-conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators and other energy-consuming appliances in the home. * Install energy saving devices: Certain gadgets are being introduced that can save energy if plugged into an electrical socket in the home. However, these devices can only handle 3000 watts and would need additional gadgets plugged in if the total wattage goes beyond this current limit. * Make use of energy saving lighting: CFL’s or compact fluorescent lights can give the same amount of luminescence at much lower wattage consumption and can live to as much as 12 times longer than incandescent bulbs. These practices are even recommended by Houston or Dallas Electric Companies. * Attached energy efficient windows: heat passing through windows can significantly increase
energy consumption for heating and air-conditioning. e-Films are good additions to windows that can block off heat during summer, and prevent heat from escaping during winter. In relation to this, it would also be wiser to have your home properly insulated to minimize heat exchanges that occur during summer and winter.

About Shop Texas Electricity- Shop Texas Electricity helps consumers and businesses compare and shop for their electricity plans in Texas. Learn more about Shop Texas Electricity by visiting us at www.ShopTexasElectricity.com

How the EFL Benefits You

April 26,2016
by dmirza

There are dozens of retail energy providers (REPs) that offer cheap electricity plans, and there could very well be over a hundred different energy plans available. When choosing a provider and plan, you want to make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for and don’t get surprised by any hidden charges. That’s why Texas has mandated all energy companies place an electricity facts label (EFL) on every plan they have.

The EFL is a document that details exactly how a plan came to display their advertised price per kilowatt hour (kWh). For example, a plan showing 9.3 cents per kWh could actually show in the EFL that you’re paying 4.2 cents per kWh for the electricity itself and another 2.7 cents for the transmission of each kilowatt hour. That only totals up to 6.9 cents, so where does the rest come from?How the EFL Benefits You

In the EFL, you’ll see a breakdown of all the fees associated with your plan. You’re paying 4.2 cents to purchase a single kWh, 2.7 cents to transmit it to your home, and you may also be paying a monthly base charge for the use of electricity, plus other fees like meter reading charges. All of these charges are combined and billed into the cost of the electricity, coming out to an average price like 9.3 cents per kWh. There are other factors that could affect the price of your electricity, such as usage ranges.

Some energy plans charge different amounts based on how much energy you use. For example, one plan may charge a $15 base charge and 9.3 cents per kWh until you reach 500 kWh. From 501 to 1000 kWh, there’s no base charge, and the rate is 10.6 cents. Over 1001 kWh, no base charge and a rate of 10.2 cents. Other plans may have their lowest rate in the middle range of usage, from 501 to 1000 kWh. Below or above that range, the cost is much higher.

The main purpose of the EFL is to show you all of this information in an easy-to-understand manner, so you know exactly what you’re getting. From electricity ranges, to waived base charges, to other fees like meter reading or smart meter fees are included in the EFL, leaving no doubt as to what you’re getting. You’ll also find penalties like early termination fees listed here if you disconnect your service before your scheduled end date.

How Does the Energy Grid in Texas Stay Reliable?

April 9,2016
by dmirza

There are a lot of players in the deregulated energy market. There are generation facilities who generate electricity using coal, nuclear power, wind, solar, and natural gas, the retail electricity providers (REPs) who sell electricity, and the transmission and distribution utility (TDU) who distributes the electricity and maintains the power lines. There is also the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, who makes sure the electricity stays on and manages the grid for the three quarters of state, redirecting the flow to prevent outages and making sure the grid itself is reliable.

ERCOT has oversight over all parts of the grid, including 550 generation facilities and 43,000 miles of transmission lines. They also handle any settlements on behalf of customers regarding the reliability of electricity. ERCOT reports directly to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), and is operated as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation. It is run by a board of directors, and its members include Texas energy consumers, cooperatives, generation facility employees, REP employees, investor and municipality-owned utility providers as well.B20160408B

All of these people come together to ensure that consumers are able to get cheap electricity from a provider they trust and that their electric service will be reliable. There may be some hiccups along the way, such as a storm or other major incident knocking out power, but overall, ERCOT strives to make sure every customer gets the electricity they need, when it’s needed. We all expect that when we flip a light switch, the light will come on, and ERCOT helps make that happen for us every day.

Energy Efficient Appliances Cut Your Energy Bill

April 3,2016
by dmirza

Every appliance has two costs: the cost you pay when you buy it, and the cost you pay to operate it. The operational cost of an appliance comes from how much electricity it consumes, so if you have a cheap electricity plan in Texas, it may not cost you very much with any ordinary appliance, but with an energy efficient model, you could save even more.

The first thing to do when searching for a new appliance is to look at the Energy Guide. This guide is a federally mandated tag that is added onto all appliance packaging to tell you approximately how much it will cost to operate the appliance for a year based on the national average for electricity rates and a set number of hours of use. Since it’s based on the national average, you could have an operational cost lower or higher, depending on where you live. For this reason, they also include the estimated yearly energy consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh). And it’s always really easy to spot this tag because it’s a happy, bright yellow color.Energy Efficient Appliances Cut Your Energy Bill

The next thing you want to look for is an Energy Star label. Energy Star certifies appliances and electronics that are at least 20% more efficient than the standard for that class of appliance. It’s possible that they could be 30% or even 50% more efficient, depending on the device. An Energy Star logo may appear on the packaging, but if the appliance is certified, it will definitely appear on the Energy Guide.

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