The high temperatures in Texas remind us that the summer has not ended, the National Weather service has posted head advisories for Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Denton counties. The significance to that is a moratorium on power companies disconnecting customers in those areas. Customers cannot be disconnected from their electricity supply for non-payment of their energy bill. The advisory was in affect through August 30 but, because of the Labor Day weekend, ONCOR customers got a reprieve through September 2.
The reason for these disconnect moratoriums is obvious – public health and safety. We’ve seen in the past where heatwaves have killed. A power company doesn’t want to be responsible for heat related death because of a non-payment issue and neither does the government. If you have been disconnected from your electricity provider in one of these Texas counties during this recent moratorium, you can file an electric complaint here.
Of course, on September 3rd there will be an increase in the suspension of electricity service and if you’re in this group, you’ll need to be patient. The electricity suppliers will be busier than normal getting residential customers re-connected as quick as possible. If you are disconnected, it might be a good time to shop around and compare electricity rates as some suppliers have begun dropping their kWh rates for the fall.
The Lite-Up Texas program is a government assistance program intended to reduce the cost of energy for low income households. It is available during the months of May, June, July, August, and September. Until recently, it reduced the electricity charge of those qualified by 16.5%. During this years session, the Texas Legislature voted to increase the discount to 82%! This would mean that if you are currently paying 13.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), you would only pay 2 cents per kWh. This is a substantial savings and can make a huge difference in the family budget.
This change goes into effect for September of 2013 and will remain in effect for the summer months through 2016. You need to apply for the Lite-up program in order to get the savings. If you think you might qualify and aren’t currently in the program, check the qualifications at the Texas Lite-up website. If you’re enrolled in the Food Stamps or Medicaid assistance programs, you definitely qualify. If not, you could qualify on income. If your income doesn’t exceed 125% of the Federal Poverty level, you are qualified.
Don’t hesitate or you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings on your power bill.
Has the hot weather doubled your electricity bill? During the summer months, as the temperatures sour in places like Texas and Florida, the power bill seems to sour even higher. I’m sure you’ve heard of many ways to cut down on energy usage but, have you tried any yet? Some don’t require any investment and can make a small impact. Others require you to buy something but promise to “pay for themselves” in x-number of months.
One such item is a smart thermostat. In most homes, half of your energy is consumed by heating and cooling. So why not start with the device that can make the biggest impact on that expense? Many have tried programmable thermostats where you can set them to adjust the temperature at different times of the day such as cooling less when you’re at work or to make it cooler when you’re asleep at night. However, many times the savings just don’t add up. Usually because a lot of those thermostats can be difficult to program. You might find yourself overriding the settings or you’re getting complaints from the rest of the family because they can’t make temperature adjustments when necessary.
Well now you can buy a thermostat that will learn your preferences and will set itself! The Nest thermostat allows you to easily change the temperature as you wish and it will learn your pattern, eventually making the changes automatically. It’s simple interface makes changing the temperature easy to do. It has many unique features like auto-away where it will adjust temperatures when you are away in order to save energy. It can even send you reports on your usage and savings.
The retail price of $250 will make many hesitate to buy it. But, if you’re thinking about a programmable thermostat, it would be worth your while to spend a little extra to get one that you’ll actually program and use – since it programs itself.
As the hot summer months approach, electricity bills start to increase. For states like Texas, summer power bills can get extremely high. Now is the time to make the call and shop for the best kWh rates that you can lock in for the summer. The electricity rates for Texas can vary quite a bit so if it’s been a while since you’ve shopped rates, don’t wait. It can make a significant different on your monthly budget. The more power you use, the more you’ll save with lower rates.
Since Energy was deregulated in Texas, electricity suppliers have been competing for your business. That competition brings better rates to the customer – you! Those suppliers buy their power in advance based on what they think they’ll need, and lock in a price. When they do a good job, they lock in low rates. When they do a bad job, they have to raise their rates. That’s why you should be checking electricity rates in Texas regularly.