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Shopping for Residential Electricity Rates in Texas

June 22,2016

Looking for the lowest electricity rates in Texas? The trick to finding cheap electricity is to shop around. Every provider offers different plans with different contract lengths, rates, and energy content. As a result, the consumer has the ability to find one that is cheaper than all the rest while still being able to meet their needs.

Shopping for Electricity

You could spend hours searching through different websites, entering your zip code over and over, and looking at every single plan over a multitude of tabs in your browser. And once you find a few plans you like, you have to remember which tabs you found them on then check the EFL to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?Shopping for Residential Electricity Rates in Texas

That’s where we brokers come in. A broker, like Shop Texas Electricity, can gather up all the plans available in your area and consolidate them into one easy to read list. Instead of hopping around the internet, you can look at plans and compare them side by side quickly and easily. Even better: you can sort the list to make it easier to find what you need.

Looking for a long term contract? Sort by term. Want the lowest residential electricity rates in Texas? Sort by price. Prefer one provider over others? Sort by provider or plan name. The choice is yours, and you have total control over who you buy your electricity from.

Low Rates, Hidden Charges, and Electricity Reliability

The old saying “you get what you pay for” often steers customers away from too good to be true deals. At first glance, some rates may seem really attractive, but when you look at the EFL, you might find that they really are too good to be true. Some energy companies like to add an attractive rate for “middle ground” energy use, usually around 500 to 1000 kWh. Anything above or below this zone can be significantly more expensive.

However, if you find a cheap rate and the EFL backs it up, it can still be a legitimately good deal. Don’t feel like paying for a cheaper residential electricity rate means you’ll get poor electricity service. All service is overseen by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, and they make sure that all electrical energy is treated fairly. So if you find that too good to be true rate with no strings attached, go for it!

Why Do We Have the Power to Choose?

June 22,2016
by dmirza

Over a decade and a half ago, Texas electricity was ruled by the utility company. They set the prices however they wanted, dictated what your electricity plan included, and if you didn’t like it, well, you could sit in the dark. There were no other options for reliable electricity. Then Texas got a great idea: what if people had the power to choose their electricity provider?

That was the big idea that sparked a major shift in how electricity was provided to customers throughout the state. In 1999, the Texas Legislature decided it would be better to allow consumers to pick their own provider and energy plan rather than allowing the utility to monopolize the entire energy grid.Why Do We Have the Power to Choose
This shift eventually took hold on January 1, 2002, just three years after it was introduced. The legislation banned the utility from setting the price for purchasing electricity and it established ERCOT, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, which is overseen by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and which manages the entire grid in Texas, making sure power goes where it’s needed.

The utility wasn’t cut out of the picture entirely, however. Instead of buying electricity from generation facilities and selling it to customers, the utility now maintains the power lines and transmits electricity to the customers. They still play a vital role in the energy market, but they can’t hold their power over the customers in terms of costs.

Consumers now have the power to choose any provider they want that offers electricity in their area. All that is required to search for a plan is a zip code, and sometimes a confirmation of whether it’s a residential or business address. Dozens of retail electricity providers (REPs) compete over 85% of the state trying to get customers’ business.

All the electricity, regardless of the REP, is reliably maintained by ERCOT, so even if you go with a startup company rather than a big name company, your electricity reliability will remain the same. Some sites, like Shop Texas Electricity allow you to search and compare several REPs all at once, so you can easily see who’s got the best deal in town.

8 Ways to have Cheap Electricity in Texas

June 13,2016
by dmirza

Want to know how to reduce your home energy bill? There are several things you can do from turning off lights to finding cheap Texas electricity plans. We’ve got plenty of tips to help you cut your energy bill and live in comfort this summer.

 

  1. Turn Out the Lights
    Shut off lights for rooms you aren’t using. Lighting can count toward a fair amount of your energy use. Installing a timer or occupancy sensors will reduce the likelihood of lights accidentally being left on since they shut lights off automatically.
  2. Clean Refrigerator Coils
    The coils in the back of your refrigerator radiate heat so the liquid inside can collect more heat to release. If the coils are dirty, they become insulated and don’t radiate heat as well.8 Ways to have Cheap Electricity in Texas
  3. Off Is Better Than Sleep…
    When you’re done using your computer, instead of putting into sleep mode, turn it off. Turning it off will greatly reduce the amount of energy drawn as opposed to being in sleep mode.
  4. …And Unplugged Is Better Than Off
    Even when they are off; all electronic devices continue to draw a small amount of power. This power draw could add up to a couple hundred dollars per year, so unplug anything that’s not being used for a long period of time. Power strips will help you cut power to several devices at once.
  5. Clean Filters and Lint Traps
    Replace the filter for your HVAC system every one to three months as needed to keep the airflow efficient. Clean out the lint traps in your dryer to do the same and prevent fire hazards.
  6. Lower Your Water Temperature
    Lower the setting on your water heater from the factory default of 140°F to 120°F to save a lot on energy use.
  7. Insulation
    Adding insulation to your attic and walls will reduce the amount of heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter. Insulating your water pipes carries hot water longer distances without cooling as much, saving you from running the hot water as long.
  8. Find Cheap Electricity in Texas
    Search for a new energy provider that offers cheap electricity for your home. Getting started is as easy as entering your zip code and comparing plans from multiple providers through the Shop Texas Electricity marketplace!

How to Cut Operational Costs for Your Business

June 11,2016

Did you know that you can make your business work for you to reduce operating costs? There are quite a few things related to energy use that will reduce your operational expenses by cutting waste and getting low commercial electricity rates in Texas. We’ll give you some quick and easy tips to take your business to the top by getting to the bottom of your energy bill.

 

  • Landscape
    If you have your own building and property, landscaping can improve the value of the property and reduce energy. By shading a building with trees, you’ll keep it cooler in the summer, so the AC doesn’t have to run as often.How to Cut Operational Costs for Your Business
    Developing apps for smart phones is a great way to engage your customers on a level that’s easily accessible. Using apps to communicate with your business, pay bills, or otherwise access their information reduces the electricity drawn from higher powered devices like computers. It can also save a lot on paper expenses if you transfer data electronically rather than by mail.
  • HVAC Service
    Keep your business cool and energy efficient by servicing your HVAC system. Have a certified technician perform routine maintenance on the system once or twice per year, making sure it’s working at peak capacity. Also be sure that the filters are replaced every month to ensure proper airflow.
  • Equipment Upgrade
    Upgrading old computers, printers, and scanners to more energy efficient models will reduce your electricity costs. Shut off any unused equipment when you go home for the day to save even more energy.
  • Refrigerators
    Clean the coils of any refrigerators you have at your office to keep them working efficiently. Keeping them well stocked and not empty actually reduces energy use for the fridge too. The chilled drinks and food inside retain cold temperatures for a short time even when the door is opened to grab something, so the compressor has less cold air to make up for once the door is closed again.
  • Switching Electricity Plans
    Changing to a new energy plan can also save your business a lot of money. Commercial electricity rates in Texas are typically custom tailored based on your business’ energy usage history. REPs will offer different rates based on this history and you can choose the one whose contract and rate best suit your needs.

Locking in a Low Dallas Electricity Rate that can Withstand Any Storm

June 11,2016
by dmirza

This year’s storm season has certainly been shaking things up around Dallas. Heavy rainfall, thunderstorms, and occasional flooding have caused turmoil in the city and energy market. If you already have a low fixed rate plan, you’re protected from any market pricing changes until your contract is up for renewal, but if your plan is up for renewal now, you’ll definitely want to shop around for the best Dallas electricity rates.

Shopping for electricity is a very simple process. All you need to get started is your zip code. Once you enter that on a retail energy provider’s site, it will show you all of that provider’s plans that are available to you. The downside to this is that you can only search one provider at a time, switching between multiple tabs looking at all the different options.Locking in a Low Dallas Electricity Rate that can Withstand Any Storm

Fortunately, there is a much easier solution. Through Shop Texas Electricity, you can actually search through several Dallas electricity providers, plans, and rates all at once, saving you precious time. And when the market is so heavily distraught by storms, timing is very important. You’ll want to lock down a low Dallas electricity rate as soon as you can to keep it for the coming months. Hurricane season will be in full swing soon, and that will only bring more storms.

Weather can cause issues with electricity reliability, but REPs can never claim that their electricity will be more reliable than any other’s. So, when shopping around for the best energy rates in Dallas, search for a plan that suits your needs and budget rather that looking for one that claims to work better than another. Electricity reliability is overseen by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and they work hard to ensure your electricity is reliable to the highest degree possible. Even during storms, ERCOT is doing their best to keep the grid balanced and powered, keeping the lights and AC from going out for anyone in Dallas or Fort Worth. There could be times where the power does go out, and if it does, contact your utility company so they can work to restore your electricity.

Finding the Right Plan for Cheap Electricity Rates

June 1,2016
by dmirza

How do you find cheap electricity rates for your home? Do you know which plans are the most cost effective? Are incentives worth it? These are all questions to consider when looking for a new electricity plan for your home. We have several tips to help you find the best possible electricity rates in your area.

            Variable vs Fixed Rate

Variable rate plans might have a cheaper electricity rate than a fixed rate plan when you initially look at it. However, variable rate plans will change their rate every month, while a fixed rate plan will lock in your rate for the duration of your contract. The contract length for a fixed rate plan can last between three months and three years, depending on the plans offered by a retail energy provider (REP). During this time, your rate won’t change as a result of market demand changes. This means you’ll continue to pay the same cheap electricity rate for that period of time.Finding the Right Plan for Cheap Electricity Rates

The benefit that variable rate plans have is that since there is no contract, you can change your plan or provider at any time. Knowing this, REPs try to keep variable rate plans as low as possible, but market conditions will cause them to fluctuate every billing cycle. Fixed rate plans are more helpful for budgeting household expenses, however. If you’re really strict about budgeting, and stay on top of energy use, a prepaid plan is another possible option. The electricity is paid for upfront, but will shut off if you exceed the amount you paid for without adding more credit to your account.

Incentives

Some plans will offer an incentive to get you to sign up. These incentives include credits on your bill, gift certificates to local places, and smart thermostats. One thing to keep in mind is that these incentives are usually built into the cost of the plan, so what may seem like a cheap electricity rate with a free device or gift is actually getting you to pay more than the item is worth. Compare plans with incentives to plans without and use previous bills to determine how much you would be paying each month with the new rates. If you find that the new rates have you pay more than the gift is worth, it isn’t worth taking the incentive.

EFL

Check the EFL for any plan advertising cheap electricity rates. Sometimes these rates are just the rate for the average level of use, which is between 1000 and 1500 kilowatts of electricity. Anything above or below this range could be considerably more expensive than the advertised rate. Checking the EFL for any plan is essential, as it will tell you about any other applicable charges, fees, and penalties. It will also tell you your contract length, energy content, and other important data.

Keep Your Cool How Your AC can Save Money in your Business

May 31,2016
by dmirza

Running a business here in Texas also means running the AC all summer long. It gets pretty hot here, so it’s no surprise that the AC is always on. This unfortunately tends to lead to high energy bills, even if you have low business electricity rates. A slippery slope concerning air conditioners in your business is that it can affect future business electricity rates in Texas down the line.

Businesses generally will get custom tailored quotes for energy rates. These quotes are based on the amount of energy you’re using on a monthly basis. In order to get the most out of your energy rates and your electricity plan, conserving energy is a must. The air conditioner is a very good place to start.

Getting a tune-up for your AC just before summer will improve its efficiency, but there are many other steps you can take to make it more efficient and save your business money. There are four major ways to improve AC efficiency.

  1. Sealed BuildingKeep Your Cool How Your AC can Save Money in your Business
    Keep all windows and any doors that lead outside shut while the AC is on. Cool air will always try to escape outside during the summer, and keeping it in is paramount to energy savings. Besides, if the office doesn’t get cooler but the AC keeps running, it could freeze over, causing extensive damage.
  2. Energy Efficient Electronics
    You may not think so, but your electronics affect how effective your AC is. While computers, monitors, and other devices are running, they are generating heat. Computer CPUs and server racks generate a lot of heat that your AC tries to compensate for. Downsizing these units to only the necessities and shutting off any that are not in use will directly save you energy and will also reduce the load on your AC, saving even more energy.
  3. Thermostat Control
    There’s no point in cooling an empty office. When everyone goes home for the day, shut off the AC. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it up to automatically adjust the temperature just before the first person arrives to work and just after the last person leaves. If your office follows a regular daily schedule, this will keep the office comfortable while still keeping the AC off the whole time it’s unoccupied, which will save a lot of energy.
  4. Regular Maintenance
    In addition to getting a tune-up for your AC before summer, get another one in the fall just before winter. The winter tune-up is for the heating portion of your HVAC and will save money over the colder months. You should also change the air filter every one to three months as needed. Clogged filters reduce airflow, which makes the AC work harder.

Following these tips will help you reduce your business electricity bill each month and save your business money. You can save even more money by getting a new custom quote for business electricity rates in Texas through Shop Texas Electricity. We’ll search through several energy providers for you and present you with a quote that will save your business even more.

Saving Energy with Low Houston Electricity Rates

May 30,2016
by dmirza

Springtime is one of the two best times of the year to get a great Houston electricity rate. This is right when the temperatures are warm but not oppressively hot like they are in summer. As we head into summer, Houston electricity rates will tend to increase along with energy demand from people using their air conditioning to keep cool. We have a few tips to help you beat the heat so you can save even more this summer.

Windows

Keep your windows shut and blocked by blinds or curtains during the day. This will keep more of the hot air outside and more of the cool air inside. By blocking the windows, you’ll also reduce excess heat from solar heat gain. If you prefer to have the natural light during the day, look into UV window treatments. This thin film is applied to windows to reduce the amount of heat causing UV light that enters the room, but still allows visible light. During the evening when you’re ready for bed, shut off the AC and crack open a window with a fan running. The cooler air overnight will keep you comfortable without running up your electric bill.Saving Energy with Low Houston Electricity Rates

Lights

Getting as much natural light as possible will help you reduce your energy bill because it prevents you from having to turn on electric lights to see. Since the days are getting longer, you’ll be able to go for a longer period of time without turning on any lights, just be sure to open up the blinds and curtains on windows that face north and east. This will give you natural light but won’t add heat from the sun. Upgrade your lights to energy efficient and cool temperature LEDs to decrease energy use from both lighting and AC. Since LEDs don’t get very hot, they won’t make your AC work harder.

Cooking

Get in some grilling practice and make some dinners outside. Cooking indoors with the stove and oven add a lot of extra heat to the house, and that makes your AC work much harder. While you’re cooking, shut off the AC, open some windows, and point fans outdoors to draw out the extra heat. Seal it all up and turn the AC on again after you’re done cooking. If possible, avoid using the oven and stove, rather opting for the microwave or a crockpot for indoor cooking.

Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can save you hundreds over the course of a year. Set it up to provide you with cooler air in the morning while you get ready for work, than shut off the AC while you’re at work, turn it back on when you get home, and turn it off while you sleep. This setup keeps the AC from running at times when no one is benefitting from it or when it’s cooler, such as at night. Add extra savings by setting the home and awake temperatures higher than normal. Every degree you raise the thermostat will save between 1-3% on your energy bill.

Follow these tips and you’ll have a great, comfortable summer. Lock in a low Houston electricity rate now so you can enjoy the benefits of cheap electricity all year long as well. If you’re ready to look for a new energy provider, Shop Texas Electricity lists dozens of plans and providers, and all you need to do to get started is enter your zip code. It’s that easy!

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.

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