Posts Tagged Texas Electricity

Energy saving tips for your microwave and oven

Many Texas electricity consumers often use a lot of heat to cook their dishes in ovens and microwaves when just a dash of heat would have been adequate. If you want to control your electricity usage, you can use some simple steps as mentioned below that won’t let you compromise on the taste of your dishes but can bring home huge savings on electric bills.

 

  • Use less time for cooking: You can save on your energy usage by keeping your cooking time down. Simple steps like defrosting food kept in the refrigerator before cooking, using a minimum pre-heat time, not using heat-blocking foil on the racks, not peeking in every now and then etc can help you to control your electricity usage. Cooking multiple portions, if possible, is yet another good idea rather than cooking small amounts. This way, you will simply need to re-heat the food and not cook it all over again.

 

  • Use energy efficient devices: As compared to a conventional oven, 20% less electricity is used by a convection oven. Again, using a toaster oven can bring down your energy usage by about 50%, while a microwave lets you save almost 66% on your energy usage. So, using your microwave whenever you can instead of the traditional oven can help you bring down your electricity bills. Whether you need to cook dishes, heat the leftovers, or defrost a frozen item, try using your microwave.

 

 

  • Use your oven to the optimum: To ensure that all the heat and space in your oven is put to use, it’s advisable to cook as much as possible in one go. Other steps like boiling potatoes before roasting, using ceramic or glass utensils that need lower temperature for cooking, cutting food into smaller pieces, inserting stainless steel skewers into joints of meat and baked potatoes to speed up the cooking process etc can also help you in energy efficient cooking. Turning your electric oven off ten minutes prior to the end of the cooking time is yet another step that can help you to save on your electricity bills.

 

  • Proper food arrangement in microwave: Avoid piling up food inside the microwave as it won’t allow proper cooking and even consume more electricity. If you need to cook multiple pieces at once, you can arrange the pieces in a circle where thicker pieces are placed toward the edge and thin pieces toward the center of the dish.

 

 

  • Use the minimum cooking time in microwave: Most dishes have an ideal time range to get cooked. It’s advisable to use the minimum cooking time to cook food and check if it’s done. You can always continue cooking for undercooked food. But if you overcook the food, you can’t do anything to salvage the dish.

 

There are many other microwave shortcuts and oven tips that can helpTexas electricityconsumers save on their utility bills. So, use the steps mentioned above and read more on such other tips that can help you control your electricity usage.

 

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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Energy saving tips for your freezer and refrigerator

Did you know that in your household, your freezer and refrigerator are two of the biggest energy consumers? If not, it’s time to look closer and adhere to energy efficient practices to bring down your energy consumption, thus decreasing your utility bills. Though the present day models of freezers and refrigerators are very energy efficient, the same can’t be told about their older counterparts. Still, if you possess an ENERGY STAR approved model of a refrigerator from the 1980s, you could end up saving as much as $100 each year on your electricity bills. Similarly, a fridge from the 1970s with ENERGY STAR approval can help you save more than $200 a year. So, for all those Texas electricity consumers looking to bring down their utility bills, here are some tips for your freezers and refrigerators:

 

  • Clean the coils: There should be regular cleaning and maintenance of the refrigerator/freezer coils. Keeping them dust free is absolutely necessary for energy efficient usage. In case you have pets in home, dander may get deposited on the coils, which may require you to clean them more frequently.
  • Using a scientific approach to store in the freezer/refrigerator: The deviceworks on the basic principle of having to cool the space inside. Hence, more the space, more air the device has to cool and thus, more energy is consumed. Therefore, storing the freezer/refrigerator adequately, so that there is less of ‘free air’ for the device to waste its energy on can help you limit your energy usage. Experts advise that in case you don’t have enough material to stock inside your freezer/ refrigerator, you can fill up bowls of water and place inside. Water pouches can also be used for the same purpose.
  •  Defrost freezer on time: Unless you own a frost-free unit, you should defrost your freezerthe moment you spot the development of frost beyond half an inch, as it can increase power consumption of the freezer.
  • Check the door seals of your freezer: To limit power consumption, your freezer door should be air tight. You can check this by closing the door of your freezer on a dollar bill. In case you are able to pull out the bill easily, you might need a new latch or seal.
  • Adhere to the right temperature settings: Setting your freezer or refrigerator at the right temperature is the ideal way to minimize wastage of electricity. Hence, don’t set the temperature too high or too low. Ideally, your refrigerator’s fresh food section should have its temperature at 37° to 40° while the freezer section can be set at 5°.
  • Position of the freezer/ refrigerator: Location of the freezer orrefrigerator decides the pattern of its future power consumption. It should be made sure that the location where the device has been put up has a good circulation of air. No hindrance in air flow should be allowed, in case they are situated in some closed space, for example, in between two cupboards.  Freezers or refrigerators should not be kept close to other electrical appliances like ovens, microwaves, stoves, or even close to windows. Heat emanated from such cooking appliances like stoves can increase their power consumption. It is ideal to select the coolest spot for these devices.     

 

By following these tips, energy efficiency of the refrigerator or freezer can be increased manifolds. It is indeed righteous to become aware and enlightened to adhere to such tips as they can help you curb wastage of electricity, thus letting you conserve energy.

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 energy use audit – some questions to ask

Did you know that of all homes constructed prior to 1980, just 20% are well insulated? To bring down your energy costs, it becomes crucial to seal doors and windows, add insulation, and take other necessary steps. With the energy scenario in Texas becoming a talking point among administrators and homemakers alike, and the imminent possibilities of power outage and grid failure due to excessive power consumption, it becomes more important that Texas residents do their bit to conserve electricity.

 

Home energy usage audit

Since it may seem like a daunting task to pin-point areas where your power consumption is more, or locate instances where you can cut down on your consumption, doing a home energy use audit can come to your rescue.

 

General Home Information

You can begin by asking yourself some general questions, which may include:

  • When was your home constructed?
  • Your home belongs to which category – Apartment/Condo, or Single Family?
  • On each side of your home, how many windows are there?
  • Do your home has broken or cracked windows/doors?
  • How many outside doors does your home have?
  • Are your doors insulated?
  • Do your doors and windows leak air, or do they seal tightly?
  • Do you have ceiling and wall insulation in your home?

Answering these questions will help you target the problem areas, which if repaired, can help you reduce your electricity bills.

 

Heating/Cooling Systems

Almost 43% of your utility bills are attributed to running heating and cooling systems. With simple steps like setting your thermostat at 78° F or higher in the summer and 68° F or lower in the winter can help you save precious dollars on your utility bills. Here are some questions to ask during your home energy audit to find out how much of energy your heating/cooling systems are consuming:

  • What type of heating and cooling system do you use?
  • What fuel does your heating/cooling system use? (you can pick your answer from oil, electricity, natural gas, and propane)
  • What’s the age of your heating system?
  • Do you use a programmable thermostat to control the temperature?
  • During the heating or cooling season, what are your thermostat settings?
  • During summer, do you use fans in place of air conditioning?

 

Water Heating

In your home, the third largest energy expense is attributed to water heating. You can cut down water heating bills with some simple steps like insulating your water heater, using less hot water, keeping the water heater’s thermostat down, or by purchasing a more efficient model.

Some questions related to water heating systems, which you should answer during your home energy use audit include:

  • What type of fuel is used to heat water in your home?
  • What’s the age of your water heater?
  • What’s the temperature at which your water heater is set?
  • Are the pipes and your water heater insulated?

Clothes washers, refrigerators, and clothes dryers are some other appliances that consume a lot of energy. So, you should try to buy appliances with ENERGY STAR labels as they are more efficient than other products.

So, use the above questionnaire to perform an effective home energy use audit, which would help you get started on steps for cutting down your electricity bills.

 

 

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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Electricity Usage Report – how can it help?

Excessive power consumption in domestic and commercial settings, and their implications are the reasons of much hue and cry in Texas these days. Putting a restriction on unnecessary electricity usage and enhancing power conservation is the need of the hour. Owing to the rapidly depleting resources and consequently rising costs of power usage, it might be a good idea to have an electricity usage report at your disposal. Not only does the report give a detailed picture of your power utilization, but also highlights times when your consumption increases and denotes areas where the consumption has spiked.

 

What is an Electricity Usage Report?

It is just a detailed sheet of facts and figures, depicted with easy-to-read graphical presentations and charts, which give a clear idea of your power usage. It takes into account all the appliances and electrical connections that are in use to provide you with useful insight into your electricity usage, and control your energy consumption. The report can be availed on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis.

 

Benefits of keeping an Electricity Usage Report

Owing to the shortage of conventional sources of energy, and a limited number of power generation plants, the surging costs of electricity is a known and acknowledged fact today. This is where an electricity usage report can come handy, as by showing how your consumption increases during a particular weather/time of the day, it can help you curb usage and facilitate electricity conservation. Since you need to steer clear of indiscriminate use of power to avoid blackouts and grid failure, the electricity usage report can serve as an effective tool.

 

Power Usage: Life in Texas

According to certain statistics collected in the year 2005, Texas stood second in terms of population and was ranked first as per the criteria of residential energy consumption. The state’s per capita carbon score rating was pegged at 10, and each resident of Texas was known to produce an average of about 32 tonnes of carbon each year. As years passed by, Texas has emerged as a state with a whooping population cover, and an economically and industrially intensive region, which naturally calls for a high power demand (accounting for one tenth of the total US energy consumption).

 

Looking at this Texas picture, an electricity usage report will surely help by letting Texas electricity consumers know about how much electricity they use and the way of such usage. Armed with such knowledge, these people will have more control on their electricity usage, and save on their monthly bills, not to mention helping the environment as well. So, you too can sign up for a weekly or monthly report to save on your electric bills.

 

If you look beyond the immediate benefits, such a step would help you to build a better future through intensive power conservation, thus bringing down your carbon footprints and making the state a greener and pollution-free place for future generations.

 

So, sign up for your free electricity usage report today to make a difference.

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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Why Texas PUC urges consumers to conserve energy

Having touched record power consumption in June, Texas PUC has urged the public to conserve energy, which in turn would help avoid outages. When record heat and drought last year tested the limits of Texas’s primary power grid, it was the public’s response to energy conservation appeals that helped avoid outages. Authorities believe that this year too, a similar appeal is called for, especially when temperatures throughout the state are soaring.

 

This year, the electricity conservation campaign will target community organizations, business groups and middle schools, to create a rise in awareness and popularize small steps for energy conservation that can help people save money. In fact, the campaign titled ‘Power to Save Texas’ is part of an effort by the PUC and ERCOT to meet a goal of decreasing demand for electricity during the peak hours.

 

Since the peak demand for electricity in Texas is between 3 and 7 p.m, the campaign asks Texans to reduce their energy use during this period to avoid outages and save money. Starting from turning up your air conditioner 1-2° warmer, to closing blinds, doing laundry or running dishwashers after 7 p.m, several small steps were highlighted in the campaign to limit the power usage during rush hours and ensure reliability of the grid.

 

What you can do

To respond to the campaign, you can take the following steps:

  • From 3 to 7 p.m, turn down your electric water heater by 10 degrees.
  • Put on the fans and try not to turn down the AC until after 7 p.m.
  • Don’t run your dryer, washer, and dishwasher during the peak demand hours.
  • Use a timer on key appliances and lights to decrease usage during peak times.
  • Run your pool pump overnight or early in the morning.
  • Instead of a standard oven, use a slow cooker or an outdoor grill to bring down electric usage during peak times. Remember that ovens heat up your house, which in turn makes your AC work harder in summer, thus consuming more electricity and driving your power bills up.
  • When not in use, turn off the appliances, lights, and cable boxes during 3 to 7 p.m.
  • To save money, use a solar dryer or a clothesline instead of an electric dryer. You can run your dryer’s fluff cycle, if required, during the off-peak period, to decrease laundry stiffness.
  • Use smart meters to monitor your usage and manage your costs.

 

Campaign blueprint

‘Power to Save Texas’ will include radio news features, media tours, television ads, and video news releases. Apart from a dedicated website at http://www.powertosavetexas.org/, this campaign will also run online ads on Facebook and Google.

 

Planned to run for the next 16 months, this campaign will cost $700,000, which includes the cost of purchasing commercials and ad space.

 

Conclusion

With Texas’s decreasing reserve margin, and limited amount of surplus generation, it has become important for the Texans to respond to the call for energy conservation. So, play a significant role by using the power conservation tips mentioned above.

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Tips for Texas Electric Shopping

With Texas energy deregulation, consumers have got a choice to select their electric providers and plans that suit their needs and budget. But since a wide variety of electricity deals available in your zip code, which may vary either by the length of contract or price, it becomes quite difficult to compare them. Since most Texas electricity contracts don’t have any uniformity among the contract terms, and even the ones that do only have a limited amount of uniformity, you need to consider certain factors while shopping for Texas electricity plans, as mentioned below:

 

  • Frequency of bills: Unless your electric service is provided for a period less than a month, your REP would issue bills on a monthly basis. However, in case you and your REP agree to bills issued less frequently than monthly, the same can be done as well. So, check the options your shortlisted REP offers before you sign the contract.

 

  • Delivery of Texas electric bills: The electric bills are issued in writing to the residential customers by their respective REPs, which are then delivered by the United States Postal Service. In case you and your REP agree, you may also get electronic bills sent by your REP at your email id registered with it. Most people these days prefer to get their bills online. In case you too belong to this league, check if your chosen REP provides this service or not.

 

 

  • Actual vs. Estimated bills: If for some reason, the REP is incapable of taking the actual meter reading, it may issue a bill based on your estimated usage. In case of an estimated bill, you will be informed about the cause why such a bill was sent by your REP. Make sure to know the circumstances when such a bill can be raised before you sign an electric contract.

 

  • Bill content: Make sure you know what elements form an integral part of your electric bill content, and check if your REP sends bills that adhere to the same.

 

 

  • Getting copy of electric bills free of charge: An REP usually maintains monthly records of billing and payment data for a minimum of 24 months after the bill has been mailed. You can obtain a free copy of your electric bill upon request. However, during every 12-month period, you can get such free copies of bills only for once.
  • Customer service: Check if your shortlisted REP has a good and prompt customer service desk that attends to your queries and problems quickly, and resolves them at the earliest.

 

With the power to choose in the hands of the consumer, you can now shop around for favorable energy plans for your business or home. Since most electric companies vie with one another to lure consumers, they offer lower rates and additional deals, which spell value for money.  In today’s competitive energy markets, you need to make a knowledgeable choice to benefit the most. Use the tips mentioned above while shopping for Texas electricity to make an informed decision, and get plans and services worth every dollar of your hard earned money.

 

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Will high electricity prices in Texas trigger more energy generation?

A report released in May this year predicted a gloomy picture about the state’s future electric reserves. According to the analysis, by 2014, Texas energy reserves are predicted to drop below the safe levels. What’s more threatening is that beyond 2014, the reserves are likely to dip even lower, which in turn is expected to cause rolling blackouts.

 

Plans for the future

With such dire predictions and an expected rise in Texas electricity prices, it becomes imminent to plan for the future. However, some experts say that there’s still hope as the outlook for 2013’s summer has actually improved since the last CDR, which was released in 2011’s December.

After the release of that report, almost 1240 MW of previously “shelved” capacity has returned, which would help meet the future needs. Another 1,130 MW is also expected, as a coal-fired plant which was earlier slated to discontinue under the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule but has been ruled over by the federal court.

After the last CDR report, ERCOT has started operation of almost 600 MW of new renewable power sources, which includes solar power (59 MW), biomass (105 MW), and wind power (432 MW).  The additional capacity of these Texas energy resources are expected to help reduce the growing blackout threats in the state. According to a forecast, by 2016, Texas will have several new power generation plants in place, which will deliver over 2,000 MW (for wind power), 3,657 MW (attributed to gas-fired facilities), 900 MW (from coal-fired resources), and 60 MW (solar energy) of power.

 

Demand response

In addition to the energy generation that the above sources will bring, ERCOT is also planning to bring “demand response” in use, which will allow it to deal with forthcoming summer months when the load on the grid is high. Though ERCOT has adequate electric power to serve users throughout the year, the demand response programs will help in addressing the highest demand periods, where consumers agree to decrease their power usage when particular conditions occur.

 

High price cap a deterrent for new power plants

According to Robert McCullough – an economist based in Portland, the rising power cap in Texas can discourage power companies from setting up more power plants, since by letting scarcity of power stay intact, these companies can benefit more from the higher prices. Thus, McCullough and several other experts feel that the new cap on Texas electricity will encourage traders to create artificial shortages.

 

Conclusion

According to McCullough, Texas has more energy resources than many other US states, and yet it has skyrocketing prices, which are higher than most of its neighboring states, due to a failing electric system. Though ERCOT’s plan to bring more energy resources into play in the near future to tide over blackouts and energy scarcity gives hope to Texas electricity consumers, only time will tell if power companies will set up power plants to trigger more generation or opt for easy profits by making the most of the higher rates and letting the energy scarcity prevail.

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