Summer is finally here. It’s the time of the year for vacations, road trips, theme parks and extra time with the family. There are few things that can damper the excitement of long road trips or thrilling roller coasters like coming home to a high electricity bill. Texans have long understood 99 degrees Summer heat bringing along a plus one in higher electricity bills.
But like in sports, champions are built in the offseason, lower electricity bills are created long before you receive that first invoice.
Yes, it is important to choose the right plan, product and electricity supplier, but even more important you must know your current situation like you know where your spouse hides their chocolate turtle candy stash for binge days.
But really, the electricity products have become so complex with so many details in the Electricity Facts Labels (EFLs), that if you don’t know your current bill and how it can change over the months and seasons, that by making hasty decisions about your service you can literally suck the life out of your bank account.
Most of the products being created in the product labs, I mean conference rooms and cubicles of retail electricity companies are based on your situation. With so many years of data, kWh usage profiles and insight, the electric companies are now able to create products around your specific usage profile for your home or apartment.
For example, there are many products which offer one rate if you use say 6.8 cents/kWh if you use at least 2000 kWh in a monthly billing period and penalty or service fee if you fall below that say $10. For those who use 2000 kWh, this could be great savings. But for most of us…Not so much.
So with all this being said here are some tips to help reduce the pain of those high Summer electricity bills:
Know your credit scenario – Electricity is a financial commitment. The better your credit the more leverage you have. The electricity company agrees to purchase electricity supply and sell it back to you over the course of a term agreement or every month (Usually at a higher rate) Having a higher credit score (in most cases between usually allows you a product with a lower rate while avoiding a high deposit (sometimes as high as $500) While in Texas, the rate you pay cannot be directly tied to your credit score it can definitely affect whether you pay a deposit or not. This is a big part of the total cost of your electricity account.
Understand The Product You Enroll In – The most important of the tips is this one. I can’t tell you the number of homeowners and apartment residents I have spoken with, who signed up for an electricity product because it sounded too good to be true for their situation.It usually isn’t. Some products offer lower introductory rates for the first month and then roll over to a month to month rate which can fluctuate each month, especially during the Summer months or “peak season”. Some products offer a low fixed deposit for those who have credit challenges(usually $75-$100) but may also Come with a higher rate that you may feel more in the Summer months as your usage increases.It is so important to understand what you are signing up for.
Know When Your Plan Expires -Most term electricity products in Texas roll from a term product to a month to month rate if you don’t cancel or renew. What this means is…You go from the fixed rate you agreed to, on to a monthly rate that can change pretty drastically. In Texas, the change in the month to month or variable rate can’t change more than 30% in a given month…but… let me say it again for affect…the worst the rate can get is 30% higher in a given month….So let’s say your rate is say 9 cents and it rolls to a month to month rate…the highest the rate can go in a given month is 11 cents the following month per deregulation guideline…Yeah, let that marinate for a moment. Per the Public Utility Commission of Texas, you can switch 15 days before the end of your current electricity contract. Use the time wisely. So your homework and be ready to make your move.
Make Sure Your House Is Ready -Lastly, you want to make sure your house is ready for the Summer heat. Make sure your front door and the back door is insulated so you are not letting cool air flow out. Ensure your light bulbs are energy efficient, such as halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) they use between 25%-80% versus traditional incandescent. Use a ceiling fan. Yeah…Yeah…Yeah, I know…They don’t actually make the room cooler but they do make you feel cooler so you are less likely to lower that thermostat. Every little bit helps
These are just a few tips to help you avoid the Summer town electricity blues. Be sure to check back often for more Electricity Insider tips.
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