If you live in the greater Houston area, there are over 60 different energy suppliers competing for your business. Many of these providers have websites that are confusing and difficult to navigate, their rates buried in misleading advertising and dense jargon. Who has the time to sort through and keep track of options across all these different sites?
Tariffs refer to both supply and usage charges. A supply charge is the fixed price per day4 to provide electricity to your home. On the other hand, a usage charge is a variable price that changes4 depending on how much electricity you use. When looking at costs from a provider, take note of how both charges stack up against the competition. If you use less electricity then you may prefer a competitive supply rate, while a household using a lot of power might do better with a competitive usage rate.
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I had an energy management computer installed on my house in Arizona. Company who installed it is called Advanced Home Systems (www.cheaperutilitybill.com). Some friends told my wife and I about this and it has literally changed our life. Conventional thought process on lowering your utility bills is to use electricity. An energy management computer lets you use the same or more energy but at a lower cost. I know, sounds too good to be true or a gimmick. Former CEO of APS (largest electric co. in AZ) has it on his home. My summer bills used to be around $450 (2600 sf with a pool). My new bills this summer were under $300. And, I used to keep my house around 81 degrees during the day. I now keep my house at 72 degrees 24/7 and still saved that much money. Again, sounds too good to be true. Check out the website and read about this. Energy computers are not a new concept, they are just traditionally used by larger businesses and not residential customers.
In the winter, I keep my thermostat on 62. Often, I don’t even turn the heater on until late November or early December. I figure that between my low temp in the winter and the months without anything at all in the spring and fall, that I can afford to spend a ton on a/c to keep cool in the summer. So I cut back spending on things I don’t care about (heat) so I can spend more on what I do care about (a/c). *grin* I live in KS.
Use smart power strips: Some electronic gadgets never truly power off; instead, they sit in standby mode using a trickle of power that can add up over devices and time. These are usually — but not exclusively — items with a remote control, because the remote sensor needs power while waiting for your input. Plug these electronics into a smart power strip, which cuts off the current when the devices aren’t in use.
Many utility companies offer more than one time-of-use policies. These plans may have different hours classified as peak hours, or may even include some “partial-peak” hours that charge less than peak rates, but more than off-peak rates. Many rates will depend not only on the hour that you’re using electricity, but also the season. Summer rates are often higher than winter rates because of energy-intensive air conditioning systems running during hot days. You might also have a plan that has lower peak rates, or fewer peak hours, on the weekends.