It is no secret that summers in Texas are extremely hot, but what many might not know is that these high temperatures affect Texans in more ways than one. Besides the potential for heat exhaustion and sunburn, soaring temperatures hit many in the wallet, leaving many residents to deal with extremely high electricity bills. Although electricity is generally cheaper in the south and midwest, savings are usually canceled out by soaring power bills due to unbearable temperatures and air-conditioning.
A recent study compared the monthly energy bills of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with Texas ranking 20th overall for power usage, with the average electricity cost of $144. However, it ranked 8th for electricity consumption per consumer.
Why electricity rates are rising
There are many reasons why electricity rates are increasing in the Lone Star State, but tight supplies and huge demand might be the main ones. Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) maintains the power grid that serves about 90% of Texas. Typically, their reserve margin is 13.75% but has dropped to 7.4%, its lowest ever. This reserve margin serves as a backup in case of generator break downs or demand exceeding the forecast.
Because of coal plant closures and the construction of natural gas plants being delayed, generation capacity fell, resulting in record-high demand and price increases.
How to shop for electricity
Since 2002, most Texans have the power to choose their electricity provider. The 12-month fixed price plan has been the most popular product since most consumers prefer shopping for electricity yearly. Looking for a company that meets your needs can be done online. You can search for different companies, compare price rates of your preferred plan, and choose the suitable one for you.
Some important factors you should look at include the electricity price – the electric company’s average price per kilowatt-hour, contract terms – how long you are required to use their services, if there are cancellation fees, and lastly, power generation sources – this is important if you are interested in encouraging the development of renewable energy resources. If you want to learn more, you can visit greencoast.org.
Keep in mind that you should not exceed the term of your current plan, avoid month-to-month plans, hold off on long-term ones, and look for opportunities during a marketing transition.
What one can do to save energy
There are numerous ways you can conserve electric power, especially during Texas’ hot summers. Some measures include: changing your light bulbs to LEDs, using curtains, shades, or blinds to block sunlight, and using the dishwasher overnight. If possible, wash your clothing in cold water, clean or replace HVAC filters regularly, use natural light when you can, utilize your microwave instead of an oven, do not leave on your technological devices all day long, and many more.
Due to several factors, electricity prices are extremely high in Texas and many residents are facing a difficult period. However, there are ways one can protect themselves from these sky-high prices, like choosing the right electric company, a good rate plan, and following as many energy-saving tips as you can.