According to many official sources, the February winter storms have put too much weight on the energy grid, causing failure across the entire state, and in return… ERCOT (electric reliability council of Texas) has declared that energy rates could increase up to 10,000%. Yea….. we’re freaked out about this as much as you are.
Some Texans have gone through 48+ hours with no electricity. Others have had rolling blackouts. We’re all experiencing it.. Some have had no electric, busted plumbing, heaters have broken, toilet water has frozen, streets are frozen solid and we can’t leave the driveway, stores are out of water, people are cold, the list goes on. These temperatures are something that Texans have not touched since the 1989.
The problem: What does this mean for your pocket? If you are in a deregulated market such as Oncor, Texas New Mexico Power, AEP, CenterPoint, or others like it, they buy energy and resell it to us. This whole sale price of power is going up for them, which means they have no choice but to relay this price hike to their consumers (us). It means that electric bills will rise. Delivery and demand charged will sky rocket. Let me break down electric bill charges: On your bill you will notice a delivery charge from the company that owns the grid, a base charge, taxes, energy charges from the company you pay your bill through, amongst other small charges that tally up. That fee you see that is from the company that owns your grid.. that number is about to jump significantly. Guess what…? That means the taxes and energy charges will follow.
The solution – homeowners: Not all of us own a home at the moment, but if you do there are solutions. Below we will go over simple solutions to at least lower your consumption. As a homeowner you can go solar. If you have solar then you produce your own energy and you cannot be billed for it by the power company. No one can touch your solar energy, it’s yours! You cannot be charged rent on something that you OWN. Often times we can cover 100% or more of your electric needs with solar energy. Sometimes we can even overproduce and make that electric bill negative. And of course, make sure you have adequate attic insulation, good ventilation, windows are double panel, weather stripping is tight, HVAC is clean, water heater isn’t from the 80s, all LEDs in the home. Unplug appliances and electronics you aren’t using, etc.
The solution – renters: Do everything you can to lower your energy consumption. The number one consumer in your home is your heating and cooling cost, number two is water heating, three are the appliances, and four is lighting. For the HVAC, put your unit on auto, keep your filters clean, and set it low in the winter and high in the summer. For example: set the cold air to 75 in the summer and 69 in the winter. For the water heater make sure it isn’t cranked up. Set it to 120 degrees or so, not 140! Don’t keep refrigerators and deep freezers outside in the summer, they will never turn off. Make sure your washer and dryer are on appropriate settings. Don’t put the setting on “massive load” and dry for way too long. Turn off lights you aren’t using, and get all LEDs. Turn off the TVs you aren’t using. Unplug electronics you aren’t using. Even a phone charger is pulling electricity if it is not being used.
Solution continued: in a wrap… make sure your home is energy efficient. Also consider solar with a battery back-up, standby generator, have water storage, food storage, extra dog food, candles, flashlights, batteries, go ahead and get some storage in the garage with winter and survival gear. Remember the boy scouts moto, “always be prepared.”
We hope this has been informative and helpful! Below are resource links.
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Here are some resources to validate our claims on rising energy rates.