Archive for May, 2012

Higher Energy Prices sought by PUC to Protect against Blackouts

Texas electricity consumers should prepare to pay higher energy prices from this summer if a new policy under consideration is passed.

 

What the PUC proposes

Plagued by frequent blackouts and energy shortages in the past, especially during the months of summer, Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas has hinted at considering price rises to address the growing concern over Texas’s energy reserves. This state agency, which is in charge of overseeing the electricity market of Texas, signaled in April this year that it may opt for new rules to address the power problem. However, the PUC stood by the expected price rise which the new rules may trigger, as the excess money is set to support additional generation construction. This, the PUC believes, will not only solve the existing power problem, but also help secure the framework needed to meet requirements in the future.

 

Here’s an overview of some of the proposals set to be considered by the PUC:

  • Price cap set to increase: By August, the price cap in the wholesale energy market may be increased to $4,500 per MW/hour, which will be far higher than the present cap of $3,000.
  • More price cap rise in future:  During the forthcoming years, the PUC would consider increasing the cap further, and it may ultimately exceed $10,000. If this happens, the Texas price cap would become more than similar caps existent elsewhere in the US. What’s more, it could bring the state in line with Australia, where an extremely high cap of $12,500 MW/hour exists.

 

Impact of these proposals

Though PUC can’t help but consider these proposals to address the state’s ongoing generation challenges, there’s already panic amongst household and businesses as Texas electricity price rise will hit both these sectors considerably. So, whether you are a commercial client or a household one, brace yourself to pay much more for meeting your Texas electricity needs.  

 

Criticisms

Some opponents of these proposals say that the changed rules will only help power generators, who will be making truckloads of money by milking the common man. Creating a panic wave amongst Texas electricity consumers is also criticized by some experts monitoring the Texas electricity scene.

 

Solutions

Since Texas electricity rates will rise sooner or later, it pays to adhere to simple rules of power conservation and if possible, switch to solar power to meet some of your needs. However, the government should encourage such practices by offering tax rebates and discounts.

 

As far the PUC is concerned, it will have to take some decisions that won’t go down well with the public, but are in the interest of the state nonetheless. Still, it’s the responsibility of PUC to look for the most cost-effective solution that doesn’t create an unnecessary financial burden on its citizens. In fact, cost of Texas electricity and reliability/feasibility of the new rules in the long run should both be considered before giving the seal of approval to the proposals.

 

So, only time will tell how Texas electric consumers are affected, depending on what the PUC decides to do about the state’s power scenario.

 

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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Using Smart Meters to track your electricity usage

Though smart meters have been getting a lot of media attention recently, only a handful of customers belonging to the deregulated regions of Texas actually use them. However, before going into the details of how these devices can help consumers of Texas electricity, let’s take a look at what they are all about.

 

What are Smart Meters

Transmission and distribution utilities of the state use these digital devices to calculate electric consumption. Also called digital meters or advanced meters, these devices are substituting the old analog boxes, which you can find attached to the outside of business offices and homes.

 

How to use Smart Meters

You should register a new account online at https://www.smartmetertexas.com. For this, you will need your smart meter number and the EISD number for your apartment or home. You will also need your Smart Meter ID, which you can find listed on the right side of your electricity meter attached to the outside your home. You can check your monthly bills or log into your account with your electricity provider to get the EISD number. It is this unique EISD number that your TDSP (Transmission and Distribution Service Provider) and Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) use to track your electricity consumption, which is then linked to your bill.

Once you have all the above mentioned information, you can log in with your username, and click the Usage link to see your home’s usage. Usually, the information listed is almost 2 days behind the actual date. For example, if you log in on a Wednesday, you can see your usage information from Monday.

To get an idea of your Texas electricity usage, you can select three types of graphs. The monthly usage graph displays the monthly electricity consumption of your household and goes back an entire year. For an overview of the month, you can see the graph showing daily totals, where a summary of usage for every day is shown side by side for the past month. Another graph, showing 15 minute segment breakdowns, can be used to ascertain the hours when your usage of electricity becomes much more or much less than the average consumption.

 

Advantages of Smart Meters

By making you aware of your electric consumption, the smart meters can help you to plan and budget for your utilities better.  Though you may try to lower your Texas electricity bills with conservation, you start looking at things differently when you have real data in front of your eyes. Starting from knowing whether you are using more electricity in the mornings or evenings, to taking steps for cutting down your bills by planning your laundry in the weekends, remembering to turn the fans and lights off when you are not in the room, or investing money to buy energy efficient drapes, you become more earnest in your endeavors and can make well-informed decisions.  

 

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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Despite deregulation how practical is switching electricity companies?

Though Texas energy deregulation has strengthened the consumers’ position by making them knowledgeable and arming them with the power to choose their Texas Electric supplier, many consumers are wary of making the switch. Most of these people often ask how practical it is to switch their supplier despite the benefits that such a move may bring their way. If you too belong to this league, here are some points that will help you decide.

 

Though you can switch your supplier to benefit from a lower rate plan of another electric company, you should remember that it would take some time to see how much money you are saving. Most people expect an overnight difference in their utility bills but the reality is quite different.

 

Let us consider an example to make the picture clear. Say, you decide to switch your service on the first of a month to a Texas Electricity Provider offering the lowest rate. Subsequent to your sign up, a third party verification service will verify if you want to make the switch for sure. Considering some calls may be missed during this period, we can estimate the entire process to take a week. So, the verification gets completed on the 7th of the month. Now, since there’s a compulsory 10-day right to rescind period, you can switch on the 17th at the earliest. However, your current billing cycle should be finished before the switch. Considering the worst case scenario that your billing cycle began on the 16th, you will have to wait till the next month’s 16th day to make the actual switch. This way, you would need to wait till the 20th of the subsequent month before you get a bill that reflects the savings from switching to the lowest electricity rate. Therefore, after making the switch, it would be around 45 days before starting with the new company and almost 3 months (80 days) before you get to see the actual savings.

 

Early termination fee is yet another aspect that makes many consumers stick to their present Texas Electricity Company. Since most contract terms often don’t disclose fully or keep it vague when it comes to the charges, fees, as well as other terms and conditions for an REP and a plan, many consumers are at a loss and don’t know how much they will be charged if they terminate their contracted rate plan to switch to a different REP. So, they take the safest route out to stick to the present company, even if it means paying more for their Electricity.

 

Perhaps you are now thinking that it’s really a tough task to switch Texas Electricity Companies, but the reality lies in the fact that if you make the switch and are ready to wait, you are bound to reap the benefits of lower Electric Rates.

So, if you have been paying high rates for your Electricity and thinking that switching electricity companies is not practical, wake up to the real picture and make your move now. Exercise your right to choose and save money on your utility bills, the chance of which the energy deregulation has brought your way.

 

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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