Saving Electricity in your home can be really simple. Whether you are a home owner or a person who rents, you can save on electric costs too!
Here are some simple ways to lower energy costs:
* Check the thermostat. Cutting back on the air conditioner, or turning it to a higher more comfortable temperature can save you in electricity costs. If you are a home owner, look into having a programmable thermostat.
* Checking the air filter in your home or apartment. Since air filters can get clogged easily, have a landlord check the air filter for cleaning or replacing.
* Switching old bulbs to newer LED and CFL bulbs that are more energy efficient.
* Use power strips to plug all electronics and gadgets into one place.
* Use curtains or drapes to keep cold air in against windows.
* Clean the coils on your refrigerator to make it run better.
* Lowering the temperature on your water heater if possible to 120 if possible.
* Cover power outlets with plugs or covers.
* Weatherstrip windows and the bottoms of doors with caulking glue to prevent air leaks.
By having a low electricity rate, you can also save on your home energy costs. Check to see if you are getting the most affordable electricity rate.
While signing up for electricity, you may see the word ‘free’ thrown in the special features section of a plan. This may be a free gift card, free electricity at night, or another reward that the retail electricity provider if offering.
Why you should be aware of ‘freebies’ when signing up for electricity service.
The freebie such as the gift card for example, may be a cover up for a higher electricity rate. The electricity companies like to distract customers with free rewards so they can pay more per month on their electricity rate.
Beware of ‘Free Nights’
Look at the electricity rate of the ‘free nights’ plans, because those are the pricier plans. While not using electricity at night may be true, during the day you are still paying a high electricity rate, so are you really winning?
Truth: Maybe ‘Free Nights and Weekends’ is a distraction?
The fact is, customers are better off with a standard plan, that one that offers free nights and weekends.
If you are not using your home every weekend, then you are still going to be paying for electricity. Read the Electricity Facts Label to see how much a ‘Free Nights plan’ compared to a standard fixed plan.
Do not left gift cards distract you from paying more for electricity. Read your Electricity Facts Label for more information.
Hurricane season is starting to gear up and now is a good time to get yourself prepared. First, you’ll want to have a plan in case you get separated from your loved ones. Plan out what you’ll do in the event the power goes out, especially for a long period of time. If a hurricane strikes and you’re not all together, plan a meeting place where you can all rejoin each other. Also have a plan for who does what in an emergency situation. Who will grab the water, flashlights, batteries, food, emergency kits? Having a plan can really make the situation more bearable.
In your hurricane preparedness kit, you should have several items. Flashlights and plenty of batteries (or flashlights that are charged by crank or shaking), a battery powered radio, plenty of water (1 gallon per person, per day, for at least 3-7 days, and enough non-perishable food for the same time frame. Extra items could include candles and matches, phones and backup battery chargers, blankets, medications, credit cards or cash, and any pet needs items.
Once your kit is ready, you need to know what you’re doing in the event of an evacuation. Evacuations can be stressful, as everyone is trying to leave the area at once, which can cause traffic jams and other issues. Make sure your family knows where you plan to go in the event of an evacuation in case anyone gets separated. Have copies (or preferably originals) of important documentation such as marriage certificates, insurance policies, photos, and anything else that would be important to you in case you are unable to return home.
Stay safe during the course of the storm by staying away from windows and doors leading outside. Keep indoors until the storm has fully passed; don’t venture out until you know it’s over because you could just be experiencing the eye of the storm. Keep up on weather alerts with your portable radio or alerts on your smartphone.
If you find yourself overpaying for electricity then fear no more! If you live in Texas, you should definitely be informed of your choices when it comes to choosing an electricity company. From plans that do not require a deposit, to plans that will have the same rate each month; you as a customer are always at an advantage. Why are you at an advantage? Simply, because electricity providers in Texas will compete for your business.
Electricity companies all have competitive rates for customers to choose from. Here is a quick overview of common electricity plans companies offer:
Fixed Rate Plans
These plans require a contract. Also for fixed rate plans, by law electricity companies in Texas can require a credit check for enrolling in fixed rate plans. Depending on the customers credit score, a deposit may/may not be required to sign up. Fixed rate plans energy charge does not change during the length of that plan.
These plans are also called month-to-month plans. The do not include a contract, but may require a deposit based on the customers credit score. The monthly energy charge changes each month, and is not fixed.
Pre Pay Plans
These plans are pay as you go, and need to be refilled once the account balance is low; or else the customer may be without power. These prepay plans require no contract, no credit check, and no deposit.
Today we will be answering the questions that all customers want to know when it comes to their electricity service:
Who to switch your electricity service to?
Why to switch?
When is the best time to switch?
First, it is important to know that most customers have no clue what is considered ‘reasonable’ on their electricity service rate. The best way to find current rates is to visit our website and enter your zip code to see what you are paying compared to current rates.
Depending on your electricity needs for your home or business, determines what company has the right plan options for you. From one month plans to one year plans, companies have plenty of plan options.
Enter you zip code on our website to see current rates from over a dozen different electricity companies to find out if you are overpaying on your current electricity service.
When is the best time to switch?
Ideally between January to March are when rates are reasonable lower than they would be during the warmer months. Remember if you are locking in a longer term like 1 year, then your goal is to get your contract to expire not during summer, to avoid renewing at a higher rate. Example: Sign up in February, Renew in February/March, opposed to June.
Are you in the process of moving soon? Here are some helpful tips for saving money when getting ready to move in your next apartment or home:
Some helpful tips:
- Time your move right. You will be charged more.
- Leases go up to move in on weekend.
- Renting a pod/cube if you do not have that many items to move.
- Change your address with the post office and banking information.
- Setup movers or a U-haul at least 6 weeks in advance.
- Give away old junk or recycle things you do not need to move. Also consider donating items or having a garage sale.
- Setup utilities like water, gas, and electricity at least 2 weeks in advance.
For shopping for an electricity provider compare rates at ShopTexasElectricity.com
8. Keep a packing checklist
9. Pack an essential bag items for the necessary things like important documents and bathroom items.
10. Identify and color code stickers help boxes go in the appropriate room for movers to easily understand.
11. Ask furniture stores/appliance stores for empty boxes instead of buying empty boxes.
Moving can be stressful. Make sure to have a good game plan and don’t procrastinate. Happy Moving!
When shopping for an electricity company in Texas, it’s always good to know that you have options. From fixed rate plans, variable month-to-month rate plans, prepay plans, and renewable plans; we’re here to explain what plans mean on electricity companies websites.
Fixed Rate Plans:
If you see the term ‘fixed rate plan’ this means that during the length of the contract; the energy rate will remain the same. Your monthly usage will change, but the rate you pay for electricity will remain the same.
Variable Month-to-Month plans:
Unlike Fixed Rate plans, Variable rate plans change each month. The energy rate fluctuates each month depending on what the market rate currently is. Variable rates are also usually contract free plans.
Prepay plans or Pay as you go Electricity; are exactly what they sound like. Typically you load a certain dollar amount on your account, or some companies even have auto deduct options. Be sure to have a sufficient balance on your prepay account, or you could get disconnected.
If a plan says “Renewable” check the Electricity Facts Label on the plan to see the percentage of the plan that comes from an alternate energy source. Usually it will say 100% renewable, meaning that the electricity is generated from a solar or eco-friendly source. Renewable plans are typically a higher rate because of the clean source of energy they come from.
Have you ever wondered what switching your energy provider really means? Sure, you know it means that you’ll be paying your bill by sending money to a different company, but how does it really affect you? Well, for starters, it can affect you by keeping more money in the bank. Switching providers is more than just paying someone else; it means that you have an opportunity to get the same reliable electricity for a lower price for a longer period of time.
Most commonly, you’ll find that there are two types of energy plans: variable and fixed. Variable plans change every month based on market conditions. Fixed plans lock in your rate for an amount of time listed in the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) and your contract. If you are still with the same provider you had back in 2002 when Texas became deregulated, you could very well be overpaying for electricity. Even if you have switched before, now may be the time to look into switching to a different provider.
The thing about electricity service is it is the same no matter who you get it from. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas ensures that all electricity service plans are unbiased and there are no interruptions regardless of who you pay for it. The difference is how much you pay and how your REP treats you. Do you really want to pay a lot of money with a retail energy provider who doesn’t take care of you? Do you even want to pay a low rate with someone who doesn’t treat you fairly? When you shop around for electricity providers, you can find out a lot about them, including rates for plans and reviews for service. So what does switching electricity providers really mean? It means that you have the power to choose who you buy electricity from.
When you are looking for an energy provider, you might be confused. With over 30 Retail Electric Providers (REPs) in Texas, it is hard to decide which energy provider to go with. Searching can be made easy through using price comparison websites but if you have priorities other than cheapest price than here are some pointers you need to look at before finalizing your new electricity provider.
Fixed rate or variable rate: Check which rate you are going for! Even if it is the cheapest, you might be looking at the variable rate as a variable rate always starts out low, but increases in price will never go down. That is the reason why it is better to go with fixed rate as that will make your rate constant for a certain amount of time. Even if it is a bit higher, fixed rate is a more solid investment.
Hidden fee, late fee or any fee: Have you heard about Early Termination Fee when you are trying to renew your contract more than 45 days before the contract expires? Some companies have such fees and have you checked the amount of percentage your late fee will cost you as if you forget to pay the bill one month you might be looking at a huge late payment. OUCH I wouldn’t want to pay a super high late fee, would you?
Planting trees on your property can add a lot of beauty and value to your home, but did you know that it can also lower your energy bill? That’s right, a well landscaped yard can actually make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Just how efficient can they be? According to the US Forest Service, planting two 25 foot tall trees can lower your climate control costs by 23 percent!
Trees provide shade, and when they provide shade for your house itself, it reduces solar heat gain. This means that you don’t need to run your AC nearly as much in the summer time. Planting them along the south and western sides of your home will give you plenty of shade to keep your home comfortable. Come winter time, when the trees lose their leaves, you’ll be able to get more sunlight on the house, allowing solar heat gain to heat your home, reducing the need to run the heat.
Trees become especially important the closer you live to a city. On average, cities tend to be 5°F warmer than the surrounding rural areas. Trees reduce this effect by shading the area around themselves and reducing the ambient air temperature. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just buying and planting a bunch of trees. They can take years to grow large enough to provide ample shade and certain types of trees work better in certain areas of your yard. The Arbor Day Foundation’s website has some tips available on choosing trees for your yard needs.