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6 Tips For Raising Energy-Smart Kids

You’re aware of the importance of having a small carbon footprint, and do all you can to leave this world a little cleaner while saving money in the process. But what about the next generation? Are you doing all you can to raise your kids in an energy-smart way?

Making your kids energy aware takes more than just nagging them to turn out the lights when they leave the room. Teaching kids to be conscious of the environment will instill good habits that last a lifetime. Try these tips to make saving energy a more fun and natural part of their day.

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Dallas Has The Power To Choose Cheap Texas Electricity Rates

Since the Texas legislature deregulated the retail electricity industry in 2002, millions of Texans have chosen to compare electricity rates and switch electricity providers. Giving electric choice back to Texans has been extremely popular, with an estimated 92% of residents having switched their own electricity plans. The ability to switch electricity providers has resulted in significant savings for many Dallas customers.

Living in the Dallas metroplex area and being served by Oncor as your local electric utility means that you have the power to choose from among dozens of competing electricity providers. All of them offer multiple rates, contract lengths and discount offers. In addition, each provider has its own website designed to lead you through the maze of complicated offers, which are often filled with confusing EFL details, overlooked fine print, and introductory rates. As a result, many customers are still confused by legal terms and narrow usage level bill credits frequently used on electricity plans for marketing purposes. As a result, they often end up getting surprised by unexpected fees and missing out on potential savings on their electric bills.

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Stuck In A Contract With Your Electricity Provider? Know Your Options

What should you do if you are in a contract and electric rates go down? What if you find another electricity plan from another provider that’s better? What if you are moving? The answers depend on your specific situation. Each electric supplier has a unique policy for early termination fees and each state has their own rules about what your supplier can charge in different situations.

Customers generally love electricity deregulation because it gives them the power to choose their energy provider and the price they pay for electricity. With this freedom of energy choice comes many decisions. One of those decisions is whether or not to enter into a long-term contract with a provider. Retail electricity providers offer customers contract choices that can range from month-to-month (no obligation) to five years (a seriously long-term obligation) and everything in between. Signing a contract with an electricity provider means that you have certain obligations but what are they?

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What Appliances Use The Most Electricity?

When it comes to energy usage, not all appliances are created equal.

It makes sense to think of smaller appliances like coffee makers using less power than refrigerators and air conditioners, but there are even differences between models of the same machine. The individual differences might be small, but using the more economical versions can create savings of hundreds of dollars each year.

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How Does Average Billing Work?

Most of the US has fluctuating electricity bills. In the north, people use more power to heat their homes in the winter. The opposite is true in the south, as residents spend the most on cooling their homes during the hot summer days.

No matter where you live, there will always be fluctuations in the amount of power you use and pay for each month. This also means having months where the electric bill can be as much as twice the normal amount in extreme weather.

Electricity providers have created a system that claims to solve this problem: average billing. Also known as budget billing, average monthly billing, or balanced billing, average billing aims to smooth out the bumps in your monthly electric bill.  Ideally, this should result in a predictable electricity bill each month. 

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It’s Easy Being Green with 100% Renewable Energy Electricity Plans

Renewable energy, or green energy, is gaining a foothold outside of niche groups and is becoming a very viable and increasingly prevalent source of power for our electricity grid.

Various types of renewable energy are included in select electricity plans, but not every shopper knows what those sources are or what that means for them. Electricity customers have more choices than ever. Besides price and plan terms, they can also choose how much green power is coming down the wire.

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How to Sniff Out a Texas Teaser Electric Rate

Texas has undoubtedly been the most successful US electricity deregulation market for residents. A lot of it’s success comes from the Texas Public Utility Commission’s (PUCT) marketing efforts when it launched PowerToChoose.org. Originally known as Texas Electric Choice, today’s Power To Choose site is still very popular for Texas residential electricity shopping, but it’s issues have also come under increasing scrutiny due to rate confusion and misleading electricity plans.

What’s the biggest issue on Power To Choose? Teaser Rates. As you work your way through the various electricity plans offered in your area, you’ve probably come across a few that seem too good to be true. These teaser electricity rates create confusion for customers looking for the best deal they can get using electricity comparison sites like the PUCT’s Power to Choose.

Despite the PUCT’s efforts to curtail teaser rates by giving users the ability to filter out minimum usage fees/credits, teaser rates still overwhelm the Power to Choose site to the point it’s easy for customers to be misled on what they’re actually getting. On a recent visit, the first five pages of the default search for our zip code was filled with what we consider to be teaser rates (and that was with bill credit filter on!)

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What Is A Kilowatt-hour (kWh) And What Can It Power?

When most people look at their electric bill, they just glance at the total to see how much they have to pay that month.

Some might look to see if the meter reading matches the one on their meter at home, but very few people look further than that. If this describes you, you’re missing out on an important piece of information about the way you use electricity: the number of kilowatt-hours you use each month.

Knowing what a kilowatt-hour is can save you money. This knowledge can help you monitor electricity usage, make educated choices about saving energy, and lower your monthly electric bill. You’ll learn how your electricity supplier calculates your bill and why some appliances are more energy-efficient than others.

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Do ‘Free Nights and Weekends’ Electricity Plans Really Save Money?

As you’re shopping for an electricity plan, you’ll come across plans that advertise free nights and weekends.

This may sound too good to be true, but they’re absolutely legitimate. Many electricity providers offer periods of free electricity as an effort to shift some of the electricity load to lower usage, off-peak times. Also, the cost of electricity during these off-peak hours is much less expensive than during peak hours. Because electricity is a commodity that can’t currently be stored, it’s better for everyone when electricity demand is more equalized.  But, what you really want to know as an electricity consumer is, what’s the catch?

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