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Cooking with Gas….or Electricity?

April 4,2018
by dmirza

electricity cookingNo matter your living situation — house, apartment, or condo — you will need a stove at some point. When shopping for a stove, there are two options to choose from — either electric or a conventional gas stove. Here are a few points to help you decide:

  • Better cooking: While technology has brought both the electric and gas stove to the same level — and it basically depends on the cook’s preference — most professional and commercial-grade ranges are gas based. Cooking with gas is more precise. The cook can control the exact amount of heat underneath a pot – a main advantage of gas over electricity. Even through personal experience, we have noticed that cooking with gas gives better results than cooking with an electric stove, especially if you are an avid cook or like to cook dishes that require precise heat and timing.
  • Price: An electric range is usually less expensive than a gas range. The difference in price can be anywhere from $75 to $200, depending on the specifications, such as model or manufacturer or features.
  • Less of a Mess: When cooking, you are bound to make a bit of a mess. While cleaning a stove can be a daunting and tedious task, gas stoves generally have sealed burners, which reduce the mess on a stovetop if something spills. On the other hand, electric stoves with coil burners usually have removable drip pans to take care of the problem, but they can become dull and dirty with constant use.
  • Ignition: While the electric stove requires no ignition, gas stoves require either a match stick, a lighter, or an electronic ignition option. The electronic ignition eliminates the need to physically light the burner with a match. The cook just presses a switch or turns the knob and the burner ignites.

While a gas stove might seem like a smarter investment, there is one main downside: you will need a natural gas line to your home in order to have a gas stove. While natural gas is generally cheaper, it is another utility bill to pay.

Bottom line, it’s up to you. Perhaps you don’t want the additional cost of having a natural gas line installed at your residence. If you’d prefer to have an electric stove, make sure you click here to find the best electricity rates in Texas!


Five Simple Tips to Save on Your Energy Bill

March 27,2018
by dmirza

tips to save on energy billIn today’s economy, most everyone is looking for a way to save money. Have you ever considered that you could save more on your skyrocketing energy bill? Here are five questions and answers so that you can be on your way to being an energy saver.

Q: In this deregulated energy market, have you switched your energy provider?

A: Texas is one of the lucky states to have deregulated energy markets in most of its cities. You have the power to search for and choose an energy provider who can give you the best rates and the best customer service.

Q: Are there any vampire electronics lurking in your home?

A: You’re probably thinking, what on earth are vampire electronics?! Well, vampire or ghost electronics are power gadgets that consume power just by being plugged in. Now may be a good time to walk through your home and see if you have any.

Q: Are you using Energy Star Appliances?

A: Energy Star appliances are energy efficient products that can help you save about a third of your electricity bill. And you don’t just save some green; you can be green because these types of appliances save on greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing features, style, or comfort.

Q: Are you using Compact Florescent Lights (CFL) instead of incandescent lights?

A: Compared to a regular incandescent light, CFLs give the same amount of visible light and use one-fifth to one-third the electric power. CFLs also last eight to fifteen times longer than incandescent lights so you save money in more ways than one!

Q: Are you keeping up with your Smart Meter?

A: Smart Meters help you track and review your electric consumption on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. By being able to monitor your consumption, you can take immediate action to reduce your consumption and, therefore, reduce your energy cost.

Follow these steps and you’re on your way to being an Energy Saver!


St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago

March 16,2018
by dmirza

Chicago, Illinois is home to a major celebration for St. Patrick’s Day! Horses, parades, marching bands and bagpipes, and a bright green river make the celebration a must see, whether you’re a native Chicagoan or just visiting. The St. Patrick’s Day 2018 parade will be held this Saturday, marking the 63rd anniversary of the festival where everyone is Irish for a day, and the 47th year for the river to be as green as the hills in Ireland.

The parade day, which is always a Saturday, starts out by turning the downtown Chicago River bright green at 9:15 AM. There’s no leprechaun magic here, but rather 40 pounds of EPA approved dye. The dye turns the entire Chicago River an emerald green color and crowds can be seen gathering all along the riverbanks to see the spectacle. This year, the dyeing will stretch an additional block, from State Street to Columbus, so hundreds more can get in on the tradition. The tradition was born unintentionally in 1961 when a plumber using a dye to detect water leaks spoke to one Stephen Bailey. The dye, while typically orange before entering the water, turns a brilliant green once in the river. Only Chicago has been able to successfully make this happen. Maybe there’s some leprechaun magic here after all!St. Patrick’s Day

The parade officially begins at noon with bagpipes, Clydesdale horses, and dancers filling Columbus Drive in Grant Park, with a viewing stand in front of Buckingham Fountain. It may still be pretty cold in March in the Windy City, but that never stops the thousands of people that attend one of the nation’s best St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. St. Patrick’s Day is Saturday, March 17th. How will you celebrate? Whatever you do, be sure to wear some green so you don’t get pinched!

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3Source 4

Do the Electricity Savings Outweigh the Sleep Lost from Daylight Saving Time

March 13,2018
by dmirza

daylight saving timeDaylight Saving Time (DST) begins March 11th, at the beginning of National Sleep Awareness Week. Some people will see the irony in that being that we feel like we lose an hour of sleep when we set our clocks an hour ahead. Some people like having an hour more of light at the end of the day rather than at the beginning, and we actually reap some electricity benefits from this, but is it worth the change in our sleep patterns? And how does Daylight Saving Time save electricity?

Origins of Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time is often credited to Benjamin Franklin, but he never actually introduced the idea. An entomologist in New Zealand first proposed it in 1895, but Germany was the first country to implement it in 1916 to help conserve resources. The United States first used it toward the end of World War I and again during World War II, but until 1966, there was no law governing it. There have been a lot of arguments for and against DST, so what are we to believe?

Energy Savings

The US Department of Energy conducted a study in 2008 to determine the electricity savings resulting from the extension of DST that was implemented in 2005. Their study revealed that the four extra weeks of DST saved the US about 0.5% in total electricity per day. Seems hardly worth it, right? But that half percent each day adds up to 1.3 billion kilowatt hours, which could power more than 100,000 homes for a whole year.

By extending the daylight hours later in the evening, we use lights less and often spend more time outdoors. This leads to a reduction in energy usage. Some argue that it increases the amount of air conditioner use, thus overshadowing the savings, but it can vary from family to family, home to home.

Health Effects

Our bodies follow a natural circadian rhythm that is different for each person. By jumping the clock forward by an hour, we throw it off pretty radically. It may only take a few days for our bodies to readjust, but it can be a big strain on our bodies. Come fall, with the extra hour of sleep, our bodies adjust much more easily, because humans naturally want an extra 20-30 min of sleep each morning, according to Dr. David Glass. In the spring, we lose that extra 20-30 min our bodies desire by shaving an hour off our sleep. And, more often than not, people stay up later on Saturday nights in general. When DST kicks on Sunday morning, we get out of sorts.

DST Preparation

So how can we prepare ourselves for the lost hour of sleep? For the week leading up to DST, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day. By the time the weekend comes, you’ll have trained yourself to get up an hour and 15 minutes earlier. On Saturday, get some mid-day exercise in. Exercise helps tire us out naturally and as the day goes on, we’ll feel sleepier. Saturday night, go to bed an hour before you typically would and Sunday morning get up with your alarm. Sleeping in will defeat the purpose of the adjustment, making it harder for your body to accept the new wake-up time.

Source 1, Source 2

When’s the Last Time You Did a Home Energy Checkup?

March 13,2018
by dmirza

home energy checkupDo you think your A/C isn’t properly cooling or that your heater could be doing a better job? If so, you might need to perform a home energy checkup.

A home energy checkup helps you figure out where your home is losing energy. When you lose energy, you lose money. A professional technician, often called an energy auditor, can give your home a thorough walk-through where they look for leaks, examine insulation, inspect the furnace and duct-work, perform a blower door test, and more to help you save on your heating and cooling bills.

Before calling for an expert, you can also check the insulation in your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings, floors and crawl spaces. Then check for air leaks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, electrical outlets and open fireplace dampers. Explore lighting options such as sensors, dimmers, or timers in order to reduce electricity use. If you still feel like there might be something wrong, look for professional help.

There are some things you should take care of before the energy auditor visits your house. Make a list of any existing problems, such as condensation on windows and uncomfortable or drafty rooms. Have copies of your past energy bills. Auditors use this information to establish what to focus on when they examine your property. The auditor first examines the outside of the home to determine the size of the house and its features, and then will analyze your behavior and reported problems.

A professional energy auditor uses special equipment to find air leaks, areas lacking insulation, or malfunctioning equipment. If it’s not a tight fit, then you are losing energy and money. The auditor will also analyze how well your home’s energy systems work together and compare that analysis to your utility bills. After gathering information about your home, the auditor will recommend cost-effective energy improvements that enhance comfort and safety.

Upgrading your home can have a positive impact on your energy consumption, which means saving you money. You can save between 5 – 30% on your energy bill by making upgrades following a home energy assessment.


Thinking of a custom home? Consider installing solar panels

February 22,2018
by dmirza

Solar panels

The decision to build a house is a major decision, with a long-term impact. Ensuring the economic viability of your custom home should be a major concern while doing this.

The sun’s energy is the most abundant form of power available. Solar panels are one way to harness this form of energy and use it to our advantage. Installing solar panels in homes reduces power bills and also helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions. Careful consideration should be given to the expected power requirements while building a house and also whether installing solar panels will provide a reasonable return on investment.

Review and select the best solar home plan. The solar home plan should be selected on the basis of climates and environment they are designed for to maximize the return on investment. Most solar home plans require full sun to operate efficiently. Consider placing the solar power plant shed in a location on your lot that receives full sun.

A different approach is required for building a solar powered home. The positioning of the house is the most important consideration in this case. The integration of solar panel components in the design is an important consideration. You have to make a decision where to place batteries, solar voltage regulators, power management electronics and solar water heaters. Not all contractors can build a solar powered house. A regular electrician, plumber and carpenter would also not be ideal resources. Locate and hire reputable custom solar home building contractors.

In order to maximize the savings, paint the roof white or grow plants. This reflects the sunlight from the roof and keeps the indoor temperature pleasant and decreases energy consumed by a hungry air conditioner. Also ensure the light from the sun is captured at a maximum in order to reduce the usage of light bulbs inside the house. This way, energy consumption will be reduced during the day and ensures power bills are kept to a minimum.

Building a solar powered home may not suit everyone. It is important that the decision be made carefully, weighing the savings in the long run against the initial investment. Visit Shop Texas Electricity today to find the best green energy plan in Texas.

Understanding Your Bill: What are TDSP charges?

February 15,2018
by dmirza

Senate Bill 7 did away with monopolistic utilities January 1, 2002. At that point, you were given the ability to choose your energy provider, also known as Retail Electric Providers (or REPs).

Although there are many REPs to choose from, all of them continue to utilize the same “wires and poles” that run down your street and into your home. These wires and poles are managed and maintained by companies called, “Transmission and Distribution Service Providers” (or TDSPs). In addition, TDSPs also read your electricity meter.

TDSPs, like all service providers, charge fees based on rates authorized by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. These fees, however, are not directly billed to you.They are billed directly to your REP, who in turn passes them through to you. So when you review your electricity bill, you will notice these fees in addition to the energy rate.

And please note that the TDSP fees will vary month to month based on your actual usage.

Regardless of which REP you choose, it is important you understand that the same TDSP rates will be the same.To find out more about your TDSP fees, you may visit The Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) website.

Visit our website, Shop Texas Electricity, to the find the best electricity rates and plans in Texas. Signing up with the retail electric provider of your choice takes only minutes!

6 Steps to Finding Great Residential Electricity Rates

July 19,2016

Have you found the best residential electricity rates in Texas? If you aren’t looking for them each time your service contract is up for renewal, you aren’t going to find them.6 Steps to Finding Great Residential Electricity Rates

Electricity rates are constantly changing in the state of Texas and the only way to find the best deal is to shop around.

How to Find the Best Residential Electricity Rates in Texas

The process is actually pretty simple.

  1. First, enter the zip code for where you live on a provider or aggregator site.
  2. When the list of available plans come up, search for the ones with the best residential electricity rates.
  3. Check the contract term length.
  4. Compare the plan to others with similar features.
  5. Carefully read the EFL to ensure the plan you like will work the way it’s advertised.
  6. Make the switch!

There could be a few dozen plans available in your area depending on where in Texas you live.

If you see a plan from a provider you’ve never heard of, check the plan details anyway. New providers sell the same electricity as well established providers, and it’s possible that a small company may provide a bigger discount over a large company.

It always pays to shop around for electricity service. With so many plans and options available, it’s easy to miss out if you just go with the flow and keep the same plan or provider year after year.

Incentives and Renewable Energy

Some plans may offer incentives like a bill credit or a free thermostat when you sign up for the plan. Check the EFL to ensure the promised rates are at least comparable to your current or similar plans, as incentives are usually billed into the rate.

Renewable energy options are also growing in popularity. These options will typically be a little more expensive than nonrenewable energy, but they do a lot to reduce carbon emissions. As demand for renewable energy increases, cost will come down through expansion and subsidization. Not to mention there is a savings in reducing carbon emissions itself!

Make the Switch

Once you find a plan with great residential electricity rates in Texas, make the switch! Switching is easy: just call or apply online to switch to your new provider, and set a date.

The switch is automatic and won’t interrupt your service. Your next bill will show the new provider and your new residential electricity rate.

No More Overpaying on Your Electricity Bill

July 15,2016
by dmirza

Summer months in Texas can be some of the toughest months when it comes to paying for electricity. Everyone wants to stay cool inside their homes, while still doing what they can to save on electricity. In order for you to keep cool but still saving you money on your energy bill, here is a compiled list of simple steps to making sure you use less, without giving up a comfortable lifestyle.

  1. If your home has central air conditioning, make sure the first thing you do is clean the debris, such as leaves and other garbage that might have collected.
  1. Do not cool rooms that are not being used. Keep the registers and doors closed in order to cool the rooms you are using faster and save energy too.
  1. Always turn off the hot water when you are not using it. Reduce the amount of water you use when brushing your teeth, or shaving.
  1. If you have a dishwasher, only use it with full loads and be sure to set it to the shortest cycle in order to save water and energy.
  1. Consider baking multiple meals, or an extra dish in the oven once you are already planning to use it. You save energy and time in the long run, and you will also avoid heating up your home for your AC to cool down later.
  1. Keep your freezer full. In order to save energy, bear in mind that frozen food stays cold longer than air. So without over packing in your freezer, keep food or water in it for everything to stay cool longer but without using up so much energy.
  1. When it comes to lighting, almost everyone now knows to switch to CFL lights. But in case you need a reason to switch, these Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs use up to 75% less energy than the standard bulbs. You should also consider having dimmer switches to save on lighting when you need it.
  1. Keep furniture, drapes and carpeting away from air vents since they can block air from cooling your rooms.
  1. During the early mornings, or evenings it is a good idea to open the windows to let cool air circulate and help cut out some air conditioning usage.
  2. Keep your home insulated, this helps year round. Keeping your home insulated in the summer will keep the heat out and let your home stay cool longer.

Don’t let summer heat limit you from enjoying your comfortable home. Reduce your electricity bill with these useful tips and if you find you still are not saving as much as you would like, consider switching providers. Energy rates change regularly and providers are constantly trying to give you competitive deals for you to switch and save on electricity. We help provide you with a list of electricity providers designed to meet your home’s electricity needs. Visit our website and remove the stress of electricity shopping. Being saving on your electric bill by following our tips and ensuring you are shopping smart for electricity.

Deregulation means Cheap Electricity in Texas

July 13,2016

Are you ready to save on electricity this summer? The temperatures are heating up and that means rising energy costs, but with a new provider and cheap Texas electricity, you can keep cool and save money. Thanks to deregulation, you’re not forced to stick to one plan; instead there are a multitude of providers and plans out there that can save you money.

Energy Deregulation

There are lots of options for saving money on electricity in Texas, but knowing where or how to start can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, it’s a lot easier than you might think! To get started looking for a new energy plan, all you need is a zip code and in some cases, the type of location, whether it’s residential or commercial.

The term “deregulated energy” makes it sound like the market is a free for all. In reality, the market is well regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), but the deregulation means that private sellers of electricity, known as retail energy providers or REPs, can compete to off low rates.Deregulation means Cheap Electricity in Texas

The regulation from PUCT ensures that customers are protected from fraudulent practices and are able to get the same reliable electricity, regardless of who they buy it from. So whether you want to go with a big name company or an independent startup, your electricity will work just as well.

Shopping for Cheap Electricity in Texas

Now, let’s get down the real business: finding cheap electricity. Like we said, all you need to get started is a zip code. That is a mandate from PUCT to prevent companies from demanding anything more than the zip code to provide rates. Doesn’t matter your income, credit, or energy history, all you need to shop for a new plan is your zip code.

After you enter the zip code, you’ll be presented with several, probably half a dozen, plans per provider. You can search for these plans through REP’s websites or you can go to a broker or aggregate site to get a whole bunch of plans from different sites all at once.

Since companies compete to offer the best prices, there could very well be a difference in what is offered for a particular plan from one that is similarly priced. Plans may include renewable energy, long contracts, no contract, or incentives like bill credits. All of these can affect the rate of a plan, and finding the cheapest electricity in Texas is all about the fine print, also known as the EFL. Compare the EFLs of plans you like to find the best deals.


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