Low Cost, High Electricity Quality

Prior to the 2002 bill that deregulated the Texas energy market, cheap electricity wasn’t really a possibility. Utilities determined the rate you paid for electricity, and if you didn’t like the rate, you couldn’t change to another utility unless you moved to another part of the state. However, once deregulated, the market was opened up for competition between different energy providers. This significantly decreased the prices paid by the consumers. Some people believe that the electricity from a company offering cheap electricity is inferior to one charging a higher rate. Fortunately, the saying of “you get what you pay for” doesn’t really apply to the Texas electricity market.

Utilities are still very much a part of the energy network. However, they only maintain the power lines that deliver your electricity. Retail Energy Providers (REPs) purchase shares of electricity from generation facilities like nuclear plants, wind farms, and coal plants. They then sell this electricity to you, the consumer. Regardless of who your REP is, the electricity is being transmitted over the same lines, so there is no difference in the quality of electricity. Each REP may have varying levels of customer service, but higher priced REPs are not always better and lower priced REPs are not always bad.

Besides being able to choose your provider, you also have the power to choose the plan you want for your electric service. Some plans vary based on contract length, with longer contracts having a lower rate that gets locked in and won’t change even if retail rates go up, other plans offer renewable energy. If you are interested in having your home powered by renewable energy, check the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) for the plans offered by a REP. The EFL will tell you exactly how much of the electricity is generated from renewable sources. Some REPs exclusively offer renewable plans, so every plan will be 100% renewable energy.

When it comes to contract lengths, it’s best to consider your current situation and energy needs. If you’ve just moved to the state and are still looking for an energy provider, find one with a variable rate monthly plan. The rate for these plans will go up or down based on market conditions, but there is no penalty if you decide to switch providers. If you’re ready to settle in for the long term, contracts vary in length between 3 months and 36 months. When you choose a fixed rate plan with a contract, your rate will remain the same, despite any changes in market conditions, whether good or bad. You could also be penalized if you back out of the contract before it ends.

Just remember that no matter whom your provider is, your electricity quality will always be high quality. And whenever you switch providers, your service will not be interrupted. On your switch date, billing will be transferred from your old provider to your new one, but your power will continue to flow for the whole transfer. Houstonians, compare and shop electric rates from providers with Shop Houston Electricity.

Motion Sensors Save Electricity

A light left on is a big waste of energy. Sometimes we forget to turn them off when we get distracted by something and leave a room, sometimes we don’t realize they’re on, like if the room is already well lit. Children have a tendency to not turn off the lights when they leave their room, bathroom, or playroom, and you may find that there are lights on all around the house because of this. Some parents become frustrated seeing all these lights left on because they know that it’s like throwing money away. Instead of scurrying all over the house turning off lights all day, investing in motion sensor switches will eliminate the hassle altogether.

Motion sensor switches are easy to install, and are relatively cheap. Each switch will cost between $20 and $40 and can be found online through sites like Amazon or at local hardware stores. There are two different types of switches: Occupancy and Vacancy. Occupancy switches turn themselves on as soon as they detect movement. These are ideal for bathrooms and laundry rooms. Vacancy switches do not turn themselves on when they detect movement; you must turn them on like any other standard light switch. The switches are good for children’s bedrooms, as they won’t automatically turn on should you need to check on your child at night and don’t want to wake them. They are also ideal for rooms where pets frequently enter, so they don’t constantly trigger the lights.

Both of these switches will turn themselves off after a set amount of time has passed with no movement. The timeout duration can be set to between 1 minute and 30 minutes, typically. In playrooms, a short timeout time is best, bathrooms could be set to 10 minutes, and bedrooms could be set to 15 minutes. Even if a light is neglected and not turned off, the automatic shutoff will save a lot of energy versus the light staying on for several hours at a time. Installing LED light bulbs in conjunction with these motion switches will further decrease your energy use.

Decreasing energy use is a surefire way to save money on your electricity bills, but switching to a new energy provider can also help. Shop Houston Electricity will help you compare the rates of several energy companies so you can get cheap electricity. You have the power to choose your own Texas electricity provider, so switch now and save!

Home is where the Energy Efficiency is

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Working from home is a great way to cut back on energy use from driving your vehicle and running the AC, computer, lights, and other devices in your office. However, some of that unused energy can get reallocated to your home by keeping your AC on and using your home electronics. Investing in energy efficient Energy Star rated equipment can reduce your energy by 20% to 30% per appliance. Some products are up to 90% more efficient. This will help you keep your home energy bills lower, despite days of heavy electricity usage.

When you are not using a piece of equipment, make sure to turn it off. Unplugging it is also advised, as electronics continually draw electricity even when they are off. Modern computers do not last longer if they remain on constantly, unlike computers from decades past.  If using an electronic device like a computer for a long period of time, set it to a low power mode. This will not only use less electricity, but it will also prolong the life of the device. Constant use builds up heat that can eventually damage your equipment. This heat also contributes to warming your home which causes your AC to run longer. Be sure to keep the lights off in rooms that you aren’t using to also cut back on unwanted electricity use and heat build-up. Using task lighting like desk lamps will further cut back on electricity use as well.

Use rechargeable batteries for electronics like wireless keyboards and mice or powered headphones. You will save a lot of waste by using rechargeable over disposable alkaline batteries. If you are able, use a laptop over a desktop computer as laptops consume less power. You can also unplug a laptop when it is fully charged and use it without drawing power from an electrical socket. Screensavers only prevent burn-in on your monitor screen; they do not reduce electricity usage. Instead of setting a screensaver, set your computer to shut off the monitor after a period of inactivity, and/or have it transition to a low-power sleep mode.

Another way to keep your energy bills low is to switch to a new electricity provider that offers cheap electricity rates in Houston. Shop Houston Electricity gives you the power to choose a new energy provider by helping you sort through all the providers and plans available to you. You can search by cheapest rates, renewable energy programs, and other criteria. The summer months bring increased rates, so switch now to save big in the coming months!

How the NEST Clearly Saves on Electric Bills

With all of the lights, appliances, and electronics in our home, it may come as a surprise to some that the little thermostat on your wall controls about half of our home’s energy use; more than the aforementioned categories combined. Using thermostats that aren’t programmed to your daily schedule could be costing you about $173 each year. Programmable thermostats allow you to schedule when your heating and air conditioning run. By doing this, they can remain off overnight or while you are at work. The Nest thermostat takes this a few steps further.

Nest thermostats are programmed by you “teaching” them when you want the temperature to be set to your preferred level. It learns your schedule based on your habits and will set itself to the appropriate temperatures throughout the day, without any need for personal input. The thermostat also has an “Auto-Away” setting that shuts the system off when you leave your house. This feature works in about 90% of homes, even if you don’t pass by the Nest panel on your way out the door.

The thermostat also has a few tricks up its metaphorical sleeve to help you save even more energy. The Leaf icon appears on your thermostat when your temperature is set to an energy saving temperature. Just a single degree can affect energy usage by 1-5%. The Airwave setting decreases your AC’s running time when the humidity is low. Your home will remain cool, but you’ll also save energy. An auto-tune setting helps you save energy by automatically adjusting the timing of cooling and heating during high use times.

The Nest thermostat is designed to work with several different heating and cooling systems. Most systems are forced air, but the Nest works with radiant and heat pump systems as well. The True Radiant setting keeps your home temperature even, so you’re not raising and lowering the heat trying to stay comfortable. The Heat Pump Balance setting optimizes auxiliary heat systems and allows you to tune them for comfort or savings. Finally, the Nest will alert you when it’s time to change the filters. Clogged filters reduce airflow, which makes the system work harder. Cleaning these filters can improve your energy efficiency by about 5%.

In addition to a Nest thermostat, you can save money on electricity by switching to a new Houston electricity provider. Shop Houston Electricity gives you the power to choose an energy provider that will meet their needs. You can search through plans for the lowest rate, renewable energy usage, and some special perks like e-billing discounts. Saving energy while getting cheap electricity is a great way to keep you feeling comfortable in your home.