Archive for September, 2011

Energy Deregulation: Spawning New Business Opportunities for Upcoming Entrepreneurs in Texas

When Energy Deregulation was approved at the national level in 1998, it opened up the electricity and the natural gas markets to a more competitive atmosphere while providing the people the power to select their energy providers. Texas was one of the early states that adopted energy deregulation.

 

Because of this, new Texas electric companies or Retail Electric Providers (REPs) have emerged to compete with the incumbent electric companies, offering the consumer several choices to select an electricity plan and provider. This eradicated the virtual monopoly that existed in this industry since it began and opened new doors for upcoming entrepreneurs to try their hand into this already established market.

 

Energy deregulation has removed or simplified the restrictions to become an entrepreneur supporting and or owing an energy related business. Entrepreneurs with foresight should find this a wonderful opportunity that promises an exponential growth for their investments.

 

Reasons to Consider a Business as an Energy Provider or Marketer

 

• If you have access to capital (a few million dollars) entrepreneurs can grab this business with high potential as an electricity provider. However money alone will not guarantee success you will need to know the energy market and have the right management team in place along with a plan to acquire customers. On the other hand, entrepreneurs with limited capitalization can enter this business as an affiliate marketer, working for an electricity provider and marketing their services to home or business establishments.

 

• The perfect timing is now, as more and more states contemplate on implementing energy deregulation or trying to streamline their existing regulations in this area, timing is everything if you want to establish your name in this industry and grab a strong foothold in the market.

 

• Low cost start-up operational requirements. As a buyer and seller of electricity, you do not need to have huge investments in setting up sophisticated facilities, offices or distribution and marketing channels thanks to outsourcing. Affiliate marketers can choose to do it person-to-person or work in the comforts of their own homes using the internet.

 

Energy deregulation has created thousands of jobs i.e call center reps, door to door reps, IT, etc in addition to providing choice to consumers. The opportunities open to entrepreneurs as a result of energy deregulation is a great business opportunity with a huge potential for profit to investors, marketers and even home-based entrepreneurs all wanting to take a bite of the electric pie.

 

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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What is an Electricity Facts Label?

Ever since the deregulation of electricity in various states such as Texas, people are given the power to select their Retail Electric Providers. This also paved the way for more competition in an otherwise monopolized industry, giving consumers the option to choose companies that can provide comparatively cheap electricity or be environmentally helpful by choosing companies that make use of alternative forms of energy resources.

 

However, with the myriad REPs that provide electricity to the millions of consumers in the state, it would be difficult to choose among these companies without a standard or a common basis that everyone would comply with. In this regard, the Public Utility Commission of Texas or the PUC have implemented the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) that each of these electric companies should provide consumers. The EFLs provide consumers with an apples-to-apples comparison between companies helping them choose which REPs they will work with. Once they’ve chosen a company, the EFL would then serve as a contract between the REPs and the consumers, with the REPs disclosing everything the consumers need to know about their electrical service.

 

Getting to Know the Electricity Facts Label

 

Similar to the nutrition label required by the FDA for all food manufacturers and products, the Electricity Facts label is also required by the PUC from Retail Electric Providers to give consumers a standardized information sheet where they can learn, and compare, critical information about the REPs products and services. The EFL also serve as a compliance form that indicates the details of the services each REP should provide their end customers.

 

The electricity facts label provides end users very valuable information about price per KWh, termination fees, contract term and other important disclosures on their electric plan. The EFL is divided into three sections 1-Electricity Price, 2-Other Key Terms and Conditions, 3-Disclousure Chart.

 

•Electricity Price- The EFLs provide consumers with an electricity price chart, wherein average prices per typical consumer usage levels such as 500 kWh, 1000 kWh or 1500 kWh are indicated. Some companies would include all related charges including special charges for generation, distribution and transmission costs as well as other administrative costs that the electric company will charge consumers. This section of the EFL is very important select a company that has the least PRICE GAP per KWH gap between 500-1000 KWh. I have seen many cases where customer signs up for a teaser rate of 12 cents per KWh for 1000 KWh and they pay close to 15 cents per KWh when they use less than 1000 KWh of electricity per billing cycle.

 

•Other Key Terms and Conditions- One important section in the EFL is the disclosure chart where the electric company lists down relevant answers to potential F.A.Q.s that the consumers may ask regarding the service. This includes the type of products being offered, particularly if these have fixed or variable rates.

 

•Disclosure chart- The disclosure chart also lists down information like the contract term, payment schemes, and potential price changes in the future, other fees, termination fees and other related details. These electric companies also indicate information about the sources and facilities used to generate the electricity provided through the REP. Here, consumers will know if the company has alternative green energy sources. Also related to the environmental aspects, some companies include in their EFLs information about the emissions released during the generation of electrical energy. This emission information is also compared with the average emissions generated in the state.

 

The EFLs are very important documents that REPs should comply with as part of their service to consumers. The information that consumers can derive from these EFLs would provide them with a clear insight about what they should expect from their Retail Electric Providers — an excellent tool to complement their power to select.

 

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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Google Invests In Wind Power Technology

Green solutions and technologies are needed now more than ever. Yet, many continue to be hard to find and implement on a broad scale. Sustainability efforts from large corporations are increasing, yet our dependence on fossil fuels remains steadfast. Mining and drilling for fossil fuels can be dangerous and costly, and the planet is constantly reminding us that it’s the one paying the price. It’s here that we see plenty of opportunity for clean and renewable energies to become part of the landscape green. With the right funding and investment, renewable energy technology like wind power could help turn the tide when it comes to environmental concerns.

Wind power is a clean energy system that converts the planet’s own wind into energy by using mills, turbines, and even airborne kites. The earth’s wind moves the mills that turn the turbines, which converts kinetic energy into electricity that then can be circulated to power thousands of homes. Up to this point, wind power has been a well-known clean energy source but has mostly been underutilized and under funded. However, with the web search company Google now investing in the technology, wind power is beginning to appeal to a very broad market.

Last Friday, Google made a sizable investment of $38 million to North Dakota based wind farms. These wind farms harness the wind energy of the North Dakota plains to create electricity that can power more than 55,000 homes and does so in a clean and safe manner. Google understands that an investment of this size, in a technology as beneficial as wind energy, can help create more wind farms around the country, create more jobs within this clean energy, and help stimulate the economy. For Google, it’s as much about helping the environment, as it’s about making smart business decisions about the future of this planet. Other corporations like Globetrotters Corporation (a Chicago based engineering corporation founded by C.E.O. Niranjan Shah) and Hewlett-Packard are following in the same footsteps as Google. These companies are coming to the conclusion that investing in green technology and green energy is really an investment in the future of the technology, the planet, and even their own businesses.

I guess, it looks like Google realizes which direction the wind is blowing.

 

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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6 Simple ways to cut your Electricity Usage

Energy deregulation have made it possible for the people of several states such as Texas to choose an electric company that will provide the electricity to power their homes or businesses. This power to select provided a competitive element to an otherwise monopolized industry. However consumers should continue to implement ways how they can conserve electricity.

 

Studies have shown that a typical household would spend 44% of their power bills on heating and cooling, another 33% on lighting and other general appliances, 14% on heating water and the last 9% for the refrigerator. Knowing this info would give homeowners an insight as to what areas they should focus on to conserve energy. The following are the top ways for homeowners to conserve electricity.

 

* Insulate Your Home

 

A large portion of the electric bill is spent on temperature regulation. This is due largely to heat exchange or loss in the home’s interiors due to poor insulation. With good insulation, the heating and cooling systems can work efficiently and would consume less energy in order to regulate the temperature.

 

The home should be checked for leaks that will allow heat or cold air to pass through. Check areas where insulation is weak allowing heat exchanges to occur, resulting in temperature imbalances inside the home that heaters or air conditioning would need to compensate.

 

* Set Your Thermostat to Comfortable Levels

 

Still on temperature regulation, limiting thermostat settings to maximum or minimum limits without compromising on comfort can give considerable savings on your electricity consumption. Connected to this is to give special consideration to the weather right outside your home. If it is relatively cold, there’s no need to set your air-conditioning to full blast which could get everyone in the home icy cold. On top of this, always maintain cleanliness of your air-conditioning to get the thermostat working as accurately as possible.

 

* Use Energy-star compliant Appliances

 

Use Energy-star compliant appliances and equipment to save at least 50% on energy used as compared to old and non-compliant appliances. Energy star is a rating system that indicates how efficient a particular appliance is. The better the rating is, the higher the energy savings the homeowner can realize.

 

* Unplug Appliances when Not in Use

 

Households do not realize that appliances kept plugged onto sockets or left in standby mode can still consume electricity even in minute trickles. If summed up together, these small consumptions can be quite considerable and would add up to your electricity bills.

 

* Use Compact Fluorescent Lights

 

CFL or Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs consume 66% less energy compared to standard incandescent bulbs and gives off better luminescence. On top of that, CFL bulbs have longer lifespan, providing households with a better and more cost effective lighting system.

 

* Set Your Water Heaters to Minimum

 

Heated water need not be scorching hot for general use like bathing or washing clothes. You can set the temperature at a much lower setting just enough to maintain the heat in your water tank. The larger the tank, the higher its energy consumption would be. Remember if you live in Texas you can also shop for a cheap electricity plan.

 

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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Smart Meters: How Will They Impact Your Electricity Usage

Unless there is a new and more efficient way of generating really cheap electricity, the consumers should be more vigilant and efficient in their use of electricity or where ever they may be — including implementing ways to save energy and cut costs as well as reducing the carbon footprint to help protect the environment. One such innovation that is slowly being implemented is the use of smart meters.

 

What are Smart Meters and how do they Work?

 

Smart meters or what is more technically known as the Advanced Metering Infrastructure or AMI is a technical advancement evolving from the electromechanical meters or the more updated automated meter reading (AMR) technologies used by electricity companies today. It is expected that within 3 to 5 years, AMI meters shall replace all installed electromechanical meters.

 

With electromechanical meters, data concerning the end user’s electrical consumption is “read” and recorded by meter-reading technicians from the electricity company. With smart meters, this data is transmitted and reported every 15-30 minutes to the electric company, giving both the end user and electric company a visibility of how they consume electricity at particular times of the day.

 

Aside from that, these smart meters can report power outages to the service company as soon as it happens, resulting to better and faster response times. These meters are also more technically advanced than old electromechanical meters making it more difficult to tamper and steal electricity. These meters can also be turned on and off by remote, which is a good feature should the end user leaves the home for a certain period for whatever matter.

 

How Will Smart Meters Influence How Consumers Use Electricity?

 

The primary purpose of smart meters is to provide information on how end users use their electricity on a real-time basis. Armed with this knowledge, consumers can have more control on the trend of their electrical usage — on an hourly basis — which would eventually affect their electricity bills. Users can now control which particular appliances can be used efficiently at a particular time as well as taking advantage of the time-of-use rate features that will be implemented.

 

If integrated with a home network, users and eventually the electric companies can communicate with appliances remotely turning them on or off more efficiently particularly during peak periods. This will result in reduced electrical costs due to more efficient usage — equivalent to almost 10 percent reduction in energy consumption.

 

Smart meters can also address the growing problem of unpaid bills and customers changing from one company to another just to avoid disconnection. This added risk for electric companies is also one of the primary reasons why electrical prizes have not gone down as expected with energy deregulation. Prepaid meters are currently being contemplated by some Texas electric companies in this regard. With less risk due to its prepaid mode, these smart meters can result in a significant 20 to 40 percent reduction in costs as projected by these electric companies.

 

Taking advantage of the smart meter’s capability of monitoring the end user’s electrical consumption on an hourly basis can create more awareness for the populace, resulting in more efficient use of technology, giving the consumers options for cheap electricity and protecting the environment at the same time.

 

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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