Archive for August, 2011

Texas: A Model for Effective Energy Deregulation

During the past few years, several states have methodically deregulated energy, ending the regulated monopolies that citizens in these various states have known for decades past. In the past, a single company provided the generation, transmission, delivery, sales, billing and customer support to consumers. With energy deregulation, the people now have the power to select their energy retail providers.

 

The promulgation of energy regulation differs from state to state in details and components but one thing is common to all and that is providing consumers an option to choose providers, resulting in unlimited competition between different companies. The state of Texas has been at the forefront of energy deregulation, providing consumers the ability to decide which Texas electric company can provide their utilities. The promulgation was aimed at creating a competitive environment among utility providers, thus providing better services or even cheap electricity and renewable energy options to the public.

 

A Little Bit of History

 

Senate Bill 7 was signed by then Governor George W. Bush on June 1999, which paved the way for the implementation of energy deregulation for the state of Texas during the subsequent years. The result was that consumers in the State had the option for selecting the Texas electricity provider of their choice among the various Retail Electric Providers or REPs that took form when energy deregulation was officially implemented.

 

Even curing its first, the energy deregulation initiative in Texas was very successful and resulted in more than 680,000 customers benefitting from the more than 1.5 billion dollars in cost savings. Regulation was not limited to household consumers alone that switched to various electric companies. The initiative was also implemented by more 90% of large industrial corporations and entities, most of which have switched to various Regional Electricity Providers (REPs) providing utility services.

 

Paving the Way

According to the study performed by CAEM or the Center for the Advancement of Energy Markets, the restructuring of the electric market in the State of Texas, was the best in the United States based on the Retail Energy Deregulation (RED) Index. The RED Index acts an industry report card and rates states based on 22 identified attributes or criteria, with Texas ranking the highest among the state rankings.

 

This is an indication that Texas has successfully implemented Energy Deregulation and has paved the way as the model for other upcoming competitive energy markets among the various states. One such example is the successful resurgence of wind energy production, boasting more than 9410 megawatts capacity towards the end of 2009, which is figure higher than what can be produced in California, Iowa and Washington combined. On top of that consumers have also proactively started making use of solar panels as well as practicing energy conservation activities. In 2005, Texas has reached its target in renewable energy way ahead of schedule by four years and is targeting for a new milestone of 10,000 megawatts — a target which was set in 2025 — but could be attainable in a shorter time with the current trend.

 

While other states continue to shun energy deregulation, others are looking at Texas as their model for implementation, not only in the way deregulation was implemented, but in the application of renewable energy resources as well.

 

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

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Understanding Energy Star Ratings on Common Appliances

Energy deregulation that has been implemented in several states including Texas has provided consumers with the power to select which Texas electric company shall provide their power needs. However, even if given the option to choose a cheap electricity plan, consumers should still conserve and make efficient use of power — and one way they can do this is to use  appliances with Energy Star ratings.

Although most consumers are aware that these appliances with the Energy Star rating are practically better and therefore more expensive that other brands, they are not aware of how these appliances got rated in the first place and how they can actually benefit with the use of Energy Star rated units. Most consumers only see the higher price difference between Energy Star products and regular brands, but have not realized that these additional costs upon purchase would be well worth the  energy savings in the long run.

Initiated in 1992 by the Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Star program have already realized $19 billion in utility bill savings in 2008, aside from avoiding the emission of greenhouse gasses equivalent of almost 29 million cars. With 10 to 66 percent reduction in energy or water consumption than regular models, Energy Star rated appliances would be ideal for use in home trying to conserve their electricity resources. 

What Does the Energy Star Rating on Appliances Mean?

An appliance tagged with an Energy Star means it has qualified with the energy efficiency requirements set by the US Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency. What this means is that the appliance consumes 10-50% less energy that non-rated models but provides the same level of quality in performance.

Aside from the realized energy savings that a standard household can save from their electricity bills, Energy Star appliances produce less electromagnetic field emissions, air-conditioning loads, and lesser noise produced by the unit’s transformers or cooling fans. This higher efficiency and performance ratings in Energy Star rated appliances account for the higher price tags that these models have as compared to regular models.

But there is another price tag that consumers should be aware of — the cost of energy that these appliances consume. Energy Star units are more power-efficient and consume less energy for the same performance levels. This can be translated to lower electricity bills. To help consumers see how efficient their Energy Star appliance can be, they can check out the Energy Guide level tagged to these appliances.

What is the FTC’s Energy Guide Label? 

The Energy Guide level is required displayed on most consumer electronic and electrical appliances by the Federal Trade Commission. This label provides consumers with information on the yearly cost required to run the appliance, giving consumers the option to choose which model can give them the highest savings from their electric utility bills in the long run.

The label contains a graphical representation of the energy consumptions of similar models for a particular appliance, ranging from the least to the highest energy consumption. The rating of the current model is indicated in the label, providing an estimate of the appliance’s yearly energy consumption. The lower this number, the more-efficient the appliance is and the higher savings can be realized.

How Efficient are Common Appliances with Energy Star Ratings?

There are over 15,000 organizations that have partnered with Energy Star to produce energy-efficient models and units. Although Energy Star does not provide ratings for all appliances, most consumer or household units have their own ratings and standards set by the program. This includes the following household appliances:

* Refrigerators — units qualified for the Energy Star use less energy than it is required to run a 75-watt light bulb continuously. Compared with older models (1993 and older) qualified models can realize up to 50 percent in savings from energy consumption.

* Washers — Standard washers consume 40 gallons of water per wash load while Energy Star certified units only consume 16-25 gallons and less energy consumption. Front loading washing machines are the most efficient and can save up to 12,500 gallons of water annually.

* Dishwashers — Energy Star qualified units can save up to 10 percent in energy consumption and costs per year, aside from the over 490 gallons of savings in water consumption.

* Freezers — Freezers qualified for the Energy Star standards can realize up to 10% to 50% reduction in energy consumption as compared to regular models. The older the model compared to, the higher the energy savings can be realized.

* Computers — Energy star compliant models can save up to 70% in energy consumption. Features include low-power mode particularly during inactive phases and can consume only less than 15 watts of power.

As an added incentive, the new government economic stimulus program Cash for Appliances provide consumers with $50 to $200 rebates for purchases of energy-efficient appliances to replace old and less efficient units they have in existence. Qualification of a particular appliance may differ from state to state but one thing is common — all should be Energy Star compliant.

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

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Making Electricity Deregulation Work for You

The state of Texas passed legislation in 2002 deregulating the retail electric industry, ending the monopolies that have controlled utilities for decades. This promulgation has provided the people the power to select their electrical retail provider, making Texas one of the states that have effectively implemented this system — making other states follow suit.

Whether it is residential, commercial or industrial users of electricity or consumers in several areas of Texas can choose their electricity provider. The concept of energy deregulation is a basic process which only involves the proper and wise selection of the utility companies that would provide electricity. There are no changes in the distribution infrastructure required as the switch would not affect existing electrical lines and utilities.

What are the Implications of Electricity Deregulation?

Energy deregulation has opened up the energy marketplace in the various states that have started to implement the system by legislation. This implies electric companies must compete in the same market as other energy utility companies in the city or state. End users should understand the implications of such changes, enabling them to find the best deals, rates and offerings that any of the several service providers in the state.

Making these changes is important, particularly for thriving small and medium businesses that are greatly affected by large electrical expenses and are trying to find ways how to effectively reduce their energy consumption without affecting their business operations and functions.

How to Get the Most from the Electricity Deregulation of Texas

There so many electric companies and providers trying to compete with each other and selecting the best company offering the best deals would be hard to finalize, much less start. People can use both online and offline resources to investigate and get information about the various providers available which they can choose from. There are some basic considerations that end should take note of, some of which are outlined below:

  • Read the electricity facts label (EFL). How much will you pay for electricity when you use less than 1000 KWH vs. 2000 or more KWh? You want to see a minimum difference. Most apartment dwellers use less than 1000KWh per month vs. home owners who may use more than 1000 KWh per month.
  • Choose a company and plan that has acceptable cancellation fees if you decide to switch plans or providers mid way through your contract.
  • The electric retail company of your choosing should have stable and affordable price rates, which are not affected by pricing abnormalities and sudden price hikes.
  • Cost is not the only factor to consider but the quality of service they provide their consumers, including the manner they resolve complaints and any other customer issues.
  • Not all electricity companies offer online payment, e-bill etc. if this is important to you ensure that your electricity company offers these features.
  • Many consumers get carried away by price per KWh investigate further to ensure the price per KWh is for 1000 KWh and check up on any additional monthly fees and or charges.
  • Comparative shopping for Texas Electricity rates and plans can help you save money.

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

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How to Have an Energy-Efficient Home

Going green is the “in” thing nowadays and this does not only applies to cars or certain materials people use every day but also to how a particular home use energy efficiently and how it reduces its carbon footprint. However, people should realize that going green is not a fad that would die out after a couple of years but a new way of life and mindset that they should embrace not only to protect the environment and themselves but to prepare a future for the next generations to come.

 

There are already several initiatives put forward by various sectors in this regard, including energy deregulation in various states like Texas, which gives people the power to select energy providers. However, unless scientists find ways of producing significantly cheap electricity that are both renewable and environment-friendly, residents should find ways how they can have energy-efficient homes. This not only would be good for their wallets but would also be good for the environment – and the following tips can show them how.

 

 The Home Energy Rating System Program

 

Residents can make their homes more energy efficient by following a few simple suggestions. To help people understand the energy efficiency levels of their homes, they can make use of the Home Energy Rating System or the HERS program.

 

The HERS program involves physical inspection of the various elements of a home, after which a rating scale that indicates zero to a hundred is provided the home. 100 is the reference home standard and the farther your mark is away from this reference point, the higher your home’s energy efficiency is.  Not only that, a HERS inspection can identify various issues and problems in your home which you can improve on.

 

 How to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

An energy-efficient home can help you reduce not only your Texas electric bills but your homes carbon footprint as well. The following describes some of the more popular tips that could help you have an energy-efficient home.

 

* Harness the power of the sun not only by using a solar power calculator’s but in every aspect in the home where solar power can be utilized. This includes solar heaters and lighting systems. You can also save more energy by designing your homes in a way that you can maximize natural light and save on energy consumption.

 

* Heat/cold-air loss is one of the primary reasons why your electricity bills goes way up, so it is vital that you properly insulate your homes from cracks, fissures and openings where heat/cold-air loss can occur. In relation, you can also make use of quality, energy efficient windows that have special coating and structure that can keep hot/cold air from transferring to.

 

* If possible, change your old appliances with energy efficient models that require less energy consumptions in order to function well. This includes refrigerators, washers, dryers, furnaces and other electrical appliances used regularly at home.

* Thermostat settings need not be too hot or too low. Just set it at comfortable levels that would still be convenient to the inhabitants of the house.

 

There are several other methods and home modifications that one can do in order to turn your homes into energy-efficient domicile. You can either study these things on your own or seek the assistance of professionals to help you on your green journey.

 

 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

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Home Improvements that Will Help Conserve Energy

Energy deregulation has provided consumers in various states across the country the power to select their electricity provider. This is true in the state of Texas where consumers can choose which Texas electric company will power their home or business. Texans have an option to choose an electricity plan from several electricity providers’, they also have a choice and option to select an electricity plan that supports energy developed using alternative or environmental friendly means.

 

However, despite this freedom to select an electricity provider, there is a need to conserve energy and this can be done by having an energy-efficient home. New and modern homes have already embraced green building methods during the initial construction phase, but owners of older homes can increase their energy efficiency by making basic home improvements and changes.

 

What are the Biggest Energy Drainers in a Home?

 

Depending on which state you live in, heating and cooling are the number one energy-drainers in a typical home. Many homeowners lose hundreds of dollars each year due to cracks, openings and inefficient windows and doors in their homes.

 

Old appliance, particularly those 10 years or older are electric power guzzers and not very energy efficient. Appliances have gone more energy-efficient over the years, sometimes as much as 50%. Lighting is another source of energy losses in a home, particularly those homes still using incandescent bulbs.

 

What Improvements can be done to Help Conserve Energy?

 

Consumers can follow these suggested home improvements that can help lower their electricity bills and help conserve energy:

* Changing windows can help improve the heat loss and exchange in a home. Old windows have single glass panes, but the more energy-efficient windows use double-glass panes with insulators in-between or special coatings/ glazed that will help decrease or stop air leaks.

 

* Replace old appliances with Energy-star compliant units to assure better energy-efficiency which will help you decrease your electricity bills.

 

* Doors can be replaced or modified to make them more energy-efficient. This can be done by improving seals around the doors that would prevent heated or cold air from passing through.

 

* Some households may not be able to afford certain changes in the home like replacing windows, doors and appliances, but they can perform simple home modifications that can help reduce energy consumption. Caulking or weather stripping doors, windows and other openings in the home can help even out the temperature in the homes. Coverings on floors and windows are other improvements that are cost-effective but provide good results.

 

* Change incandescent bulbs with the more energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights or the new LED-based lighting systems available in the market today. These new generation of lights can save as much as 70% in energy consumption and costs, and will last much longer than ordinary light bulbs.

 

* Smart and efficient usage of home appliances can help you save on electrical cost and help conserve energy. One example is your refrigerator, which can handle keeping your food fresh even if turned up a little to 37 degrees. Set your AC to 76 degrees , use ceiling fans to cool your home is more energy efficient than turning you thermostats to full blast.

 

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

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