Electricity Education

September 2018 Texas TDU Delivery Rate Changes

Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU) delivery rate changes in Texas impact your monthly electric bill. It happens every September and every March. You open up your electricity bill and notice new line items, or a different charge compared to the prior month. Most of the time, it’s small changes in the delivery rates, but these can add up. There’s no way to avoid these changes, but it helps if you understand what’s going on.

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21 Tips to Manage Your Home Utilities in a Hurricane

Harvey, Maria, Sandy, Katrina. Just the names of these powerful hurricanes evoke strong memories of devastation and flooding. There are a lot of articles on hurricane preparedness for you and for your pets. But what about your home? Learn what you must know to manage your home’s utilities during a hurricane or a flood. Hurricane season peaks in early September, but flooding can occur any time of the year. Make sure you are prepared!

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Disconnection Notice from Your Electric Company in Texas? Know your Options

Most of us have been there. You forget to pay the bill. You go on vacation. You’re running short on funds. And then that disconnection notice comes in the mail. Oh no! What now? This article will explain your rights and responsibilities for your electricity bill in Texas, and how to avoid electricity disconnection.

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Understanding Ohio’s Price To Compare

To promote energy choice in Ohio, the Ohio PUC requires that all utility bills include a Price To Compare disclosure. The intent of including this rate on electric bills is to give electricity shoppers a reference point to determine if an offer from an alternative supplier is a good deal or not. Sounds pretty straight-forward, but have you ever wondered how your Price to Compare is actually calculated and how can you use that information to save money? Read on to learn more about what the Price To Compare number is (and also what it isn’t) so that you can accurately compare apples to apples electricity rates. 

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Electricity Explained: From Flow to Dough

America’s demand for electricity is huge, totaling 18% of the world’s electricity consumption in 2015. We take for granted that electricity will be there when we turn on the lights or crank up the air conditioner. We can’t imagine life without it. But, have you ever wondered how electricity is made, or where it comes from, or how we get it the instant we want it?

Beginning in 1879, electricity was first sold in the United States by the California Electric Light Company in San Francisco which produced and sold enough electricity to run about 20 electric lights.  Since then the use of electricity has grown exponentially. Fast forward to 2016 and Americans consumed about 3.85 trillion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In this post we cover the basics about what powers this huge amount of consumption, the sources of electricity in the US, and the role of deregulation.

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Texas is Deregulated. Why Can’t I Choose My Electricity Provider?

For most people living in states open to electric competition, the year deregulation was adopted marked a complete turnaround of electricity as they knew it. Instead of only having one utility to fulfill both supply and delivery of electricity, consumers got the power to choose their own supplier. Providers offering electricity plans and better electricity rates flooded the market and suddenly there were hundreds of choices for consumers.

Sadly, the windfall of electric choice is not available to all who live in Texas. Electric cooperatives (“co-ops”) and municipally-owned utilities (“munis”) are exempt from participating in deregulation. Additionally, Texas law includes exceptions for certain investor-owned utilities to delay participation in retail competition because of lack of competition in their wholesale market and/or their lack of being part of ERCOT.

What does this mean for you?

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Is Your Electricity Contract Expiring Soon?

Electricity deregulation gives consumers the power to choose their own electricity provider and an electricity plan that fits their budget. With this freedom comes responsibility. That fabulous rate you signed up for with your electricity provider will come to an end when your contract expires.

Don’t let your electricity contract expire without taking action. If you let your contract expire without renewing or switching providers, you will have a shocking electric bill coming your way. Keeping your rate low isn’t overly difficult, but it does require some planning and timely action.

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Moving Before Your Electricity Plan Expires?

Electricity providers in every deregulated market offer multiple types of contracts, from variable monthly plans to long-term plans that can last up to three years. The right length of contract for you can depend on where you live and how long you plan to stay there, as well as the time of year you sign up for your plan.

Your rate plan may have been the right one for you when you signed the contract, but what if something happens and you have to move before the contract ends? Unexpected things come up, and not everyone is able to stay where they live until the end of their electricity contract. What happens if you have to break your electricity contract?

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The Evolution of Power to Choose in Texas: How Did We Get Here?

If you’re a Texas resident living in a deregulated utility delivery area, you have likely used the Power to Choose website to look for an electricity plan for your home. The Power To Choose website operated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) has been both a significant contributor to the success of retail deregulation in Texas and the source of much confusion for Texas residents looking to compare electric rates and choose an electricity provider.

Lately, the PUCT’s site has come under fire from both consumers and providers for listing plans with potentially misleading electric rates. If you’re overwhelmed by the shear volume of electricity plans and confusing rates listed on PowertoChoose.org, you’re not alone. 

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