After last winter’s epic storm, Texas electricity providers are actively implementing new ways of protecting the grid and improving energy efficiency. It’s not just electric companies that can play a role in preparing for winter. Lone Star residents are equally poised to tackle sky-high energy bills and prepare for seasonal weather.
Develop Good Energy Saving Habits
Homeownership across Texas is on the rise. Cities like Houston and Dallas are seeing some of the youngest homeowners in the country. While there is no shortage of energy-saving tips available via the internet, new homeowners may not be familiar with some of the tried and true energy-saving knowledge passed down from grumpy fathers finicking with the thermostat. Heating and cooling contribute almost half of the monthly electricity bill; adjusting the temperature by a few degrees can lead to almost immediate savings. Decreasing the temperature on the water heater can also lend a hand; most are preset at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but 120 degrees is hot enough for dishwashers, laundry machines, and shower use.
Take Advantage of Assistance Programs
While Cardi B may not be singing about it, the Texas Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps reduce home energy rates through increased energy efficiency education and materials. Available in all Texas counties, WAP benefits those that last winter’s storm affected most, like low-income or elderly Texans. Besides state-funded programs, most Texas energy companies provide opportunities for homeowners to apply for energy efficiency assistance, often in the form of insulation and air-sealing upgrades. Others distribute free supplies such as dimmable LED bulbs or more efficient showerheads, and some offer cash-back rebates to customers who invest in energy-efficient appliances.
Compare Electricity Rates in Texas
Electricity rates in Texas are unique in that residents can shop around and compare costs. It does place the burden on consumers to research options, but there may be opportunities to find a cheap electricity rate or cost savings within a consumer’s current plan. Certain companies offer a no-deposit electricity option, allowing customers to forgo a service charge often required to turn on the power. Some Texas electric companies award additional financial incentives for customers who pay their bills on time, enroll in online billing, or stick with a long-term plan. Some electricity providers are more technologically advanced, delivering smart tools like thermostats and meters that reduce energy consumption long-term and improve energy reading accuracy.
Understanding an Energy Bill
Better understanding a bill’s calculation may lead to selecting a different plan and saving money. Several variables contribute to Texas electricity rates, but some payment plans suit consumers’ budgets better than others. Here are a few models that may help reduce energy costs:
- Prepaid plans allow customers to pay for electricity upfront and monitor their remaining balance daily via their smartphones; these plans put more control in the hands of consumers.
- Time of Use (TOU) plans change energy prices during peak use times (often late afternoon). Customers enrolled in TOU plans can adjust when they use electricity accordingly, receiving cheaper rates.
- Average billing plans allow customers to pay a monthly bill that reflects their annual, monthly average; these plans help residents avoid sky-high bills in summer or winter when unpredictable weather can crank up energy costs.
There is more to energy reduction than remembering to turn off the light switch. Smart consumer behaviors like comparing provider benefits or opting for a different payment plan may help reduce costs in a meaningful way. Texas residents have a lot of power when it comes to their, well, power.