Wind energy is becoming an increasingly popular source of Texas electricity. Texas leads the nation in wind energy production and is also home to the largest on-shore wind farm in the world. Wind energy provides cheap electricity that can be fed directly into the local grid and produces no harmful emissions. Here are ten facts about wind energy you may not have known.
- Wind energy use grew by more than 31% between 2008 and 2009, and contributed 1.9% of the total energy production for the country in 2009. This rapid expansion was thanks to government incentives for wind generators and the 2008 Farm Bill which allowed farm owners to utilize land for wind turbines.
- Wind energy is one of the oldest forms of energy generation on the planet. Wind was harnessed by sails on boats as early as 5000 BC, and the first windmills were believed to be used in Persia around 500-900 AD. These windmills were used to turn a large stone wheel to grind grain.
- A megawatt worth of energy created using wind saves 2600 tons of carbon dioxide from being pumped into the atmosphere.
- Wind turbines have been blamed by opponents for killing of numerous species of birds. Since the controversy surrounding the deaths of 1300 predatory avians in Altamont Pass, California, new wind farms are constructed away from critical migration routes. Overall, the number of bird fatalities caused by wind turbines is well below the fatalities caused by other human related issues.
- In the energy industry, solar and wind power are two different things, but really, wind power is solar power. The sun drives the winds by causing uneven warming of the Earth.
- Between 2000 and 2006, wind power production increased four-fold. It is fast becoming one of the most reliable energy centers, thanks to its rapid expansion and job creation.
- Texas has an installed capacity of 12,212 megawatts (MW) of wind energy, the largest in the United States. Roscoe Wind Farm, the largest on-shore wind farm in the world, has an installed capacity of 781 MW.
- In 2008 alone, wind energy generated enough electricity to power the entire state of Colorado; about 5 million homes.
- Of the 50 states, 38 of them have wind farms. Fourteen of these states have an installed capacity greater than 1000 MW, and the top five states have a total installed capacity of over 20,000 MW.
- If we made the switch in the US to run solely on wind power, there is enough potential wind energy to provide more than 10 times the electricity the entire country needs.
When choosing a cheap electricity plan, you have the power to choose one that uses green energy, like wind. The more we invest in these cleaner energies, the more affordable and widespread they will become. Contact Shop Cheap Energy today to find a Dallas or Houston electricity company that will get you the energy you need at the price you want.
Texas became deregulated in the energy industry in 2002 giving consumers the power to choose their own energy provider. When it comes to shopping for electricity providers, ShopTexasElectricity.com has you covered. Consumer should worry about other things besides their electricity bill. Choose the best electricity provider and lower your energy costs today!
We make electricity shopping so simple. The shopping process is so simple. All you do is enter your zip code, and choose the best electricity plan that fits your home or businesses electricity needs. We work with several retail electricity providers so the customer has options. Everyone has different energy needs whether that may be a long term plan or a short term plan. You might even want to consider a eco-friendly plan that benefits the environment. The choice is yours.
The majority of cities and towns in Texas are deregulated in electricity, giving consumers the choice to pick their own electricity company other than their local utility company. Why is this important? Because the local utility company gives retail electricity providers the keys for competitive rates. Consumers have options now, and this makes electricity shopping more simplified. Enter your zip code today and start saving on your electric bill for your home or business.
Even despite the deregulation act that passed in 1999 and was enacted in 2002, there are still some communities that are regulated. Municipalities, cooperatives, and investor-owned utilities make up the 15% of communities that do not fall under the deregulation act. These communities are not able to choose their own retail energy provider (REP). However, starting this year, about 50,000 people will be able pick their own REP as several Sharyland communities become deregulated. Sharyland Utilities, LP opened registrations for REPs to enter the market on February 1, 2014.
Sharyland Plantation, a small southwest Texas community located in between McAllen and Mission, TX is already deregulated. Sharyland only owns the poles in this area, but consumers can choose their own provider. There are several other communities in central Texas that are monopolized under Sharyland Utilities. The Brady, Celeste, Colorado City, and Stanton divisions of Sharyland Utilities will become deregulated early this year, giving the rest of Sharyland consumers the power to choose their own provider, and potentially save themselves a fair amount of money.
Under the monopoly utility, Sharyland customers were paying an average of 10 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), but with this deregulation, they may be able to get rates closer to 8 cents per kWh. This savings can potentially add up to about $240 per year. Customers who do not choose their own provider by April 13, 2014 will be defaulted to REP in their area, who will choose an energy plan for them. This default energy plan will be billed month to month, and the rates can vary each month, according to the market. It is important to shop around for your own energy provider, as you will be able to pick a plan that suits your needs, and your budget.
Since becoming deregulated, Power to Choose has given power to the people by helping them to choose an energy plan that best suits them. They also provide resources to help customers understand how billing works, the benefits of deregulation, how to choose and change providers, and your consumer rights.
The first thing you’ll need to do is pick a provider. By entering your zip code, Power to Choose will show you a list of providers in your area, as well as the plans they offer. Every plan listed has an Electric Facts Label (EFL) that specifically details a set of standardized items like rates, fees, and contract terms. If you are switching providers, you do not need to tell your current energy provider that you are switching, as the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) will confirm that you wish to switch and contact your old provider for you. While there is no fee for switching, you may be charged an early termination fee if you are backing out of a contract with your existing energy company. After confirming that you wish to switch providers, you have three business days to cancel the switch, should you change your mind. There will be no interruption in your service when you switch providers.
In the event your current Retail Energy Provider (REP) goes out of business, you will be notified 30 days in advance of them shutting down and can choose a new provider in that time. If you do not choose one, or the REP shuts down suddenly, don’t worry! You will automatically be switched to the Provider of Last Resort (POLR), which you can switch from.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) has rules in place to ensure that your energy bill is easy to read and understand. Typically, you will get a bill in the mail every month, but you can choose to get it electronically as well. Sometimes, companies will offer lower rates for electronic or automatic bill paying. However you get and whomever you get your bill from, the layout and information will be pretty much the same, so as to keep reading it simple. If you have any questions or disputes about your bill, contact your REP. If you cannot resolve a dispute with your REP, contact PUC toll free at 1-888-PUC-TIPS.
Power to Choose also offers resources to help safeguard you from Slamming and Cramming, two nefarious and illegal business practices that can cost you money. Slamming is when you are switched to a new provider without your knowledge or consent. If you receive a letter from a REP thanking you for choosing them when you did not, contact them immediately to discuss the switch. Have them send you a copy of the authorization you gave to switch. If they cannot produce this or you still believe you were slammed, contact PUC at the above number. Cramming is the addition of paid services that you did not request or authorize. If you see charges on your bill that seem out of place or abnormally high, contact your REP to resolve the issue. If it cannot be resolved, contact PUC at the above number.
Regardless of who you choose as a provider, you will have a separate Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP), also called a Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU). You would contact the TDSP in the event of a power outage, as they maintain the power lines in your area. The TDSP you have varies by your location, but you would not choose one like you would a REP.
In 1999, the State of Texas decided to deregulate their energy industry, allowing consumers to choose a plan that suits their particular needs. Not only can they choose their own plan, but consumers can also choose who provides that plan to them. On January 1, 2002, Texas Senate Bill 7 took effect, and the energy market became an open market for consumers to choose from. Where previously it was a sort of monopoly, the energy sector of Texas split into three major parts: Power Plants, TDSPs, and REPs.
Power Plants — Power plants are where the electricity is generated. These include coal fired plants, geothermal, solar, and wind plants. After the deregulation, many new plants opened up, providing cleaner and more efficient energy. After generating the electricity, the power plant sells it on the open market.
TDSPs — Transmission and Distribution Service Providers maintain the power lines that carry the electricity to your home, as well as read your meter to determine your home’s energy use. They also take care of any outages that occur. TDSPs are monitored and regulated by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas.
REPs — Retail Energy Providers are the companies that you actually purchase electricity from. TDSPs report the electricity usage to your REP, and the REP charges you your rate per kilowatt hour times the number of kilowatt hours used. Each REP will have plans with different rates, which can be based on using a set amount of electricity per month, or whether you wish to use renewable energy credits.
ABCs — In addition to the major parts of electricity generation, sales, and distribution, there are Aggregators, Brokers, and Consultants. Brokers, like Shop Texas, compare the rates and service plans of several REPs to help customers choose a plan that suits them. Aggregators will take a group of clients that have similar energy needs and shop for a REP. By grouping several clients together, an aggregator may be able to get a sort of bulk discount on energy rates from one particular REP. A consultant will work with a client to get detailed information regarding REPs. This includes reliability, customer service, rates, and cost savings. Consultants may be able to get a custom rate for a client.
The reliability of your electrical service has not changed since the deregulation bill took effect. When switching providers, you typically can set a set a switch date, which allows your electricity to continue flowing uninterrupted by overlapping your previous REP with the new one. Once you are switched to your new REP, you’re all set! Keep in mind that some REPs may have an early termination fee if you switch before your contract ends. However, there are no other fees for switching providers.
Unfortunately, not all parts of Texas are deregulated. About 15% of communities are serviced by municipalities, cooperatives, or investor-owned utilities, and as such cannot choose their own REP. The Power to Choose website lists all of the areas that are totally deregulated, so you can see if your community is on the list.
You probably don’t think much about electricity – you flick a switch and it’s there – until you get your monthly bill. Utilities are readily available for most customers, but not many people know that you can switch companies in Texas, to get lower electricity rates.
Utility companies set their prices to recoup their costs for producing or purchasing electricity for their customers, in addition to the money it costs them to deliver the power to your house or business. Of course, there are profits to be made, as well.
Before deregulation, the power companies were monopolies in their given areas, and could pretty much charge whatever they wanted for electricity, as long as the regulatory commission approved the rates. Now, people in areas of Texas can choose their own utility company, and lock in the lowest electricity prices.
Other things fall into the pricing structure used by power companies. They have to pay to build and maintain power plants, and the prices are different when comparing fossil fuel with nuclear plants. Companies also charge for distribution and transmission lines for their customers, states Weltman.com.
The type of fuel that is consumed in order to generate power factors into the electricity rates that a utility company charges its customers. Extreme weather can also increase electricity demand, and push prices higher.
Most utility companies charge higher rates for their commercial and residential customers than they do their industrial customers. It costs the companies more to get the power to numerous, smaller locations than to a large industrial building.
The pricing of electricity as determined by electric utilities is complicated, and many factors do impact the pricing structure. They must make enough income to completely earn the rate of return they desire, after their maintenance and operating costs.
In areas that are not deregulated, power companies may recover from their customers their operating expenses and a return on their investment in utility infrastructure. Utility companies have other factors that determine their electricity rates, including the cost of providing the service itself, the maintenance of equipment and infrastructure and the depreciation on the same. Profits are used to pay to shareholders of the utility companies.
Electric companies in most other states are regulated by public utility commissions, which weigh the utilities’ interest and those of the consumers. This is how rates are determined in those states. In Texas, where consumers can select their own utility company, they have the advantage of locking in the best electricity rates in the area.