Shopping for Electricity in Texas, Pt. 1 – Comparing Providers

Shopping around for electricity can be a confusing experience. Many people feel overwhelmed with all of the choices out there because of deregulation, so they stick with what they know. We all like to remain in our comfort zones, but it’s possible to take that step of faith out into the wide world of electric service and come out on top with a cheap, reliable energy plan. How does one go about that? We’ll give you the low down.

Choosing a Texas electricity provider is actually not as complicated as it seems. Legacy providers (the providers customers were switched to when the state became deregulated) tend to charge higher rates for the same electricity you’d get elsewhere for less. Retail Energy Providers (REPs) all offer different energy plans with varying contract lengths, prices, and features. All of the terms and conditions are spelled out in the Electricity

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How to Save Big on Your Electric Bill

There is a simple, cheap and effective way to reduce electricity usage in your home. Anyone can do it, and it’s super easy! Want to know what it is? UNPLUG. Most of us don’t realize how much electricity is wasted just because a device is plugged in; this is known as the “vampire effect” or “phantom load.” Whatever you want to call it, it’s sucking money out of your wallet, but you have the power to stop it.

The best way to save on an electric bill is to use less electricity. It seems like such an easy concept, right? But it can be so difficult because of phantom load. You turn off machines when you aren’t using them (at least we hope you do!), but you still feel like your energy bills are rather high. That’s because even while a device is off, the device is

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Lower Electricity Bills by Performing Refrigerator Maintenance

We all know that our refrigerator has to stay plugged in and turned on all the time so that it keeps our food from going bad. But leaving the fridge on all the time really eats up a lot of electricity, so how can we reduce this without unplugging it? Fortunately, we have some refrigerator electricity saving tips that should help lower electricity bills.

Door Seals

The magnetic seals on your doors eventually wear out. If the seal gets loose, the cold air will seep out and the fridge has to work harder to maintain the set temperature. Cleaning them once or twice a year can help maintain a good seal, but if they’re wearing out, that may not help much. You can test them by closing the seal over a dollar bill. Once shut, give the bill a tug. If it comes out easily, the seals

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Smart Meters in the US Still Have a Long Way to Go

Smart meters are on the rise in Texas and around the United States. Over the course of seven years, from 2007 to 2014, smart meters have jumped from 7 million installed units to over 50 million. These meters offer a lot of benefits for homeowners. They cut back on the manpower that would be needed to visit and read each meter on every house, because the information can be digitally transmitted right to the utility. But they also detail how your home uses electricity, so you can see what areas could use a cutback.

Smart meters do a lot more than just send info to the utility faster to elicit knee-jerk responses of customers paying sooner. They actually have the potential to save you money. Upgrading the smart meters we use could allow us to actually see our monthly, weekly, daily, and even hourly costs. They could

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How Batteries Have Become the BFF of People on the Go

What’s your BFF gadget when you’re on the go? Phones, tablets, portable gaming systems, MP3 players . . . we use a lot of gadgets that run on batteries every day, but do you ever stop to think about that miniature powerhouse inside your television remote? Today is National Battery Day and we’re going to look at this wonder of technology that makes our day to day lives that much easier.

History of the Battery

The battery as we know it today was designed by Count Alessandro Volta, from whose name we get the term “Volts.” This Italian inventor is credited with designing the first electric battery in 1800, called a “voltaic pile.” The voltaic pile consisted of a copper plate and zinc plate separated by a piece of cardboard or felt that was soaked in salt water.

There is a possibility that batteries have been used

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The Magic of Electricity in President Lincoln’s Era

Have you ever wondered what telecommunications were like for past presidents? We take for granted how easy it is to make a phone call; the President is one of the most connected people in the world, but this was not always the case! At the time that President Lincoln was elected, the telegraph was the primary means of long distance communication. It had been in use for about 17 years, but was only available in public telegraph offices, much like if a post office were used to send an email.

Much like how we today were fascinated with smartphones as the iPhone made its debut, then future president Lincoln was fascinated with the telegraph. He saw his first telegraph key (the metal paddle used to “type” out letters) three years prior to his campaign to become president. He kept using it to ask the operator on the

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DIY Energy Valentine’s Day Gifts

Valentine’s Day is this week, and if you are still uncertain what to get your significant other, we have a few do-it-yourself electric gadgets to spark the love and charge you both up with 1.21 gigawatts of happy feelings. These projects range from “pretty simple” to “might need to be an electrician,” but if you have the know-how, you can definitely put a smile on your partner’s face!

1. LED Valentine’s Card - Take the classic Valentine’s Card and give it a jolt of awesome by making it light up! This LED Valentine features 16 red LEDs that pulse around a heart shape that you can set the speed of to match your own beating heart (awwwww).

2. LOVE LED Display - By using four 7-segment LEDs (much like the display of a digital clock), some wiring, a paper clip, some resistors, a 5 volt power source,

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Home-Made Valentine’s Day Crafts for the Kids

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and maybe your kids are trying to think of a good gift for their parents, grandparents, or that special someone at school. We have some DIY gift ideas that kids will enjoy making while breaking them away from heavy electronics usage. These little projects can be a great way to cut back on electronics usage, thus saving energy while stimulating a child’s creative muscles. They’ll love being able to make something that brings a smile to the gift recipient’s face!

Valentine Airplane

Who doesn’t love a good paper airplane? Blogger Kami on NoBiggie.net posted a video showing how to make these high flying Valentines that let your Valentine know you make their heart soar! This Valentine’s card puts all the love of making a card into a fun-to-share method of expression. Parents will also like that since it functions like a toy for

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Household Electrical Hazards to Watch Out For

Electrical fires can be a major concern for homeowners. They can happen quickly and without warning. Unless you are trained on how to handle electrical wiring, we strongly recommend hiring a certified electrician to deal with most of these situations.

Extension Cords
Extension cords or any wires that have become damaged or frayed, even if you have bound them up with electrical tape, should be replaced. Any exposed wiring has the potential to cause a fire, and it’s best not to guess which damaged cords are safer than others.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFI) is an electric switch usually located within 6 feet of a water source that cuts power to that area to prevent electrocution. These switches are mostly found in bathrooms and kitchens. If you have a GFI that is constantly tripping, contact an electrician to address the

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How to Select the Right Bulbs for Your Small Business

Running a small business means making a lot of choices. One of those choices should be about your office lighting. Traditional bulbs, known as incandescents, are terribly inefficient; they consume a lot of energy to generate the amount of light necessary to see comfortably in. Energy efficient LED bulbs on the other hand consume much less energy for the same brightness or even brighter. And these bulbs last a lot longer, so you could save your business money by buying bulbs less often.

LEDs save money in multiple ways. They last up to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs and even up to 5 times longer than CFL bulbs. When toggled, they do not need to warm up like CFL bulbs, so you get full brightness right away. LED lights also use just a fraction of the electricity of incandescent bulbs. Most of them are

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