Breaking Down Deregulation in Texas: Lingo Cheat Sheet

Do you have an auto-pay plan? Have you ever experienced a discontinuance? Been a victim of slamming or cramming?

If you’re unfamiliar with the previous terms, it may be time to brush up on your energy lingo. There are a lot of terms associated with the energy market, especially since deregulation came into effect for many parts of Texas in 2002. So if you need a refresher course on deregulation in Texas (or maybe even a beginner one), here are the most common terms about electric choice that consumers need to know.

Auto-Pay / Auto-Debit
An account set up with an auto-pay or auto-debit feature means that every billing cycle, your bank account will be debited for the amount of electricity you consumed during that cycle.

Base Charge
This is a flat, monthly charge that is applied to your bill for the cost of providing

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15 Energy Saving Tips to Help Lower Your Electricity Bill

If you’re looking to save some money on energy consumption this summer, we have some tips to share with you. These energy saving tips will help you save on electricity, which will in turn allow you to keep more green in your wallet. We will cover everything, from vampire electronics to best practices with your air conditioning and lighting.

1. Even when an electronic device or appliance is turned off, it continues to draw electricity. Eliminate energy vampires! Unplug electrical cables from wall outlets to stop the flow of electricity through them.

2. A great way to shut off the flow to multiple devices at a time is by plugging them into a power strip.

3. Maintaining your air conditioner (AC) will prolong its life and keep it running at peak efficiency. It should be tuned up every

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Roll Call! Learn About the Players in Texas Electricity

Before Texas became deregulated in the energy market, utilities ruled. They would set the prices for residential and business electricity plans, and there was no way to avoid paying their rates without moving to a location with a different utility. Beginning in 2002, the energy market was deregulated, splitting up the roles of various parts of the market. Generation facilities, utilities, retail energy providers, PUCT, and ERCOT emerged to manage Texas electricity.

Generation Facilities

Generation facilities are the places that actually generate electricity. They could be coal-fired power plants, nuclear plants, or wind farms. Utilities manage the power lines that send electricity from the generation facilities to your home or business. Retail energy providers, or REPs, purchase shares of electricity from the generation facilities and sell the electricity to you. Despite being “deregulated,” the energy market is still closely monitored for fraudulent activity. That’s where the PUCT

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Shopping Around for a New Texas Electricity Provider

In 2002, the great state of Texas became deregulated. That means that Texas electricity can be purchased from different residential electricity suppliers. The competition between the various suppliers has served to lower the cost of electricity. Legacy providers, the companies that supplied electricity prior to deregulation, can no longer set the price where they want it. They have to adjust along with the market to keep active.

Legacy Providers: Overpaying for Energy and the Fear of Switching

Many people may have stayed with their legacy provider, even after deregulation came into effect. It was much simpler to stick with what you knew rather than try to understand the vast scope of all these competing businesses vying for your business. Unfortunately, legacy providers tend to have higher prices for their electricity and as such, sticking with them means overpaying for the electricity you use.

One of the reasons

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16 Energy Efficient Tips for College Students Going Back to School

College can be a costly necessity of life, and if you or someone you know is headed away from home to attend a university, share these energy efficient tips with them to help keep their electricity costs down. These tips can easily be implemented and most of them are free, which will be sure to please even the most frugal, ramen noodles-every-night student.

1. If you’re going to be leaving a room for more than 10 minutes, shut off any electrical appliances in the room.

2. Unplug appliances that will not be in use for more than an hour. This can include DVD players and televisions, or even coffee makers and toasters. Electrical appliances continually drain electricity, even when they are off; that includes phone and tablet chargers.

3. Shut off any lights that are not being used.

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Show Them Who’s the Boss – Beat the Heat!

No, we’re not talking about San Antonio’s domination of the Miami Heat. We’re talking about the heat that has your outdoor thermostat boiling and your energy bills skyrocketing! Summers in the south can be brutal, especially in areas with triple-digit temperatures and high humidity. Keep cool however you can, whether it’s by visiting locations with air conditioning, or building your own air conditioner for your home (we’ll tell you how!).

Simple Ways to Beat the Heat

First and foremost, stay hydrated! When you sweat, your body loses moisture. If you lose too much moisture, you will become dehydrated, which could lead to hospitalization. The general recommendation is to drink eight glasses of water per day, but on hot and humid days, you will want to increase that if you’re not in an air-conditioned location. Drinking sports drinks that contain electrolytes will replace minerals in your body that

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Home Cooling – How Does It Work?

Air conditioning and home cooling are a regular part of people’s lives, especially in the southern part of the United States. Approximately 66% of all homes in the US have air conditioners, and it costs about $11 billion a year in electricity to power all of those units. That number can be reduced between 20% and 50% by implementing energy efficient air conditioners in homes. That doesn’t even mean you would need to replace or upgrade your existing AC unit; some simple maintenance can go a long way toward energy efficiency, and while some Dallas and Houston electricity rates climb due to the hot weather, this maintenance can prove invaluable.

The Mechanics of Air Conditioning

To truly understand how that maintenance can reduce energy costs, we need to understand how air conditioners work. The primary component of your AC is the refrigerant, a substance that alters between

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The Smart Grid and Smart Meter Regulate Electricity Use

The smart grid is an electrical grid that uses computers to regulate electricity use and relegate electricity demand, making the grid 9% more efficient. When it comes to powering your home, the smart grid hub is located at your energy meter. Smart meters accurately track energy consumption, providing data related to how your home consumes energy, which sectors of your home consume more electricity, when is the energy demand at its highest, and the monetary cost of the energy use. With this information, you can find a way to make your home more efficient.

Over 36 million homes and businesses have had smart meters installed as of May of 2012. In addition to helping to improve efficiency, they decrease surges and blowouts by regulating the flow of electricity better. The smart meter is more accurate than an analog meter, which means you can track exactly how much electricity you’re using

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Energy Basics for Kids – Part 9

It is summer and the kids are out of school! Just because school is no longer in session, doesn’t mean they still can’t learn a few things – like the basics of energy. The Source Power & Gas Energy Basics for Kids series will educate your children on everything they need to know about energy.

Part 1 – What Is Energy?

Part 2 – Renewable and Non-renewable

Part 3 – Energy Source

Part 4 – Using Energy

Part 5 – History of Energy, Part 1

Part 6 – History of Energy, Part 2 

Part 7 – Saving Energy

Part 8 – Environmental Impact 

ENERGY SLANG

Did you know that some everyday words mean something completely different when applied to the world of energy? Words like “cage”, “face”, “yellow cake” and even “Christmas tree” could really confuse you if you hear someone talking about them out of their normal context. Let’s

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The Hamburger Footprint – How Much Energy Does It Take?

Chances are when you bite into a big, juicy burger, you’re thinking about how tasty it is and how juicy it is, not how much energy went into making it. Almost any time we consume energy, whether it’s to power a car, turn on a light bulb, or cook a hamburger, carbon is emitted into the atmosphere. We don’t think about the amount of electricity or fuel that is used to cook the burger, the amount of gas or diesel used to transport all of the ingredients, or even the amount of water that goes into making a burger.

Burgers are one of the go-to foods for many people. The average person eats between 50 and 150 burgers per year, and that adds up to a lot of carbon. Let’s look at the hamburger footprint from beginning to end to find out just how much carbon emissions

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