As of January 1, 2002, Texas became a deregulated energy state. This means that utilities were no longer allowed to supply , transmit, and charge for electricity. The utility still transmits the electricity, but you purchase it from separate companies. These retail energy providers (REPs) compete to offer the best rates, and give you a lot of choice in the matter. What once was a monopoly of a single company became a cooperation between three companies.
The power plant supplies the electricity. They generate it through a variety of means, including coal, natural gas, wind, solar, and nuclear energy. After Texas became deregulated, more power plants opened up, providing lots of different means of generating electricity, including renewable energy.
The transmission and distribution service provider, or TDSP, is responsible for maintaining the power lines and transmitting the electricity from a power plant to a home or business. They also read the meters at this location and report that information to the REPs for billing. When the power goes out, the TDSP is responsible for restoring it.
The retail energy providers are the companies that you purchase power from. The REPs purchase shares of electricity from power plants, which they then sell rate plans to customers for. They may offer several different rate plans, including variable rates, fixed rates, and renewable energy options. As a customer, you have the power to choose what plan and even what provider you want, so it pays to shop around.
Have you thought about installing renewable energy systems for your home energy needs? Maybe you felt like it wasn’t worth the cost. Fortunately, thanks to technological advancements, renewable energy systems are becoming cheaper all the time. Far too many naysayers claim it is prohibitively expensive, and looking at a higher price for green energy on your electricity bill may seem like they’re right. However, that is not the case.
Solar energy installations have dropped in price by about 50% in 5 years. Solar photovoltaic panels cost have come down by the same amount since 2008. Wind energy has decreased by 43% since 2011. Renewable energy is on the rise in popularity because it reduces the long term costs of generating electricity. These costs frequently aren’t factored in when considering “cheaper” energy like coal and gas. The environmental effects can be quite pricy.
Renewable energy is already a much more cost effective means of producing energy in countries where fossil fuels are uncommon or expensive. As we expand the use of renewable energy around the United States, it will be come more affordable here, powering more of the country without depleting much of its resources. By harnessing power like the sun, wind, or geothermal energy, we can safely and effectively power our world without consuming the limited coal, oil, and natural gas reserves. By eliminating fossil fuels, we also eliminate the production of carbon emissions which goes a long way toward harming our planet.
The fact that renewable energy prices are coming down while more renewable sources are expanding means there is a definite demand for it. That demand will continue to drop prices and take over more of the energy market, providing cheap, clean energy for all.
Do you notice that one or more rooms in your home tend to be colder than others? Find yourself cranking up the heat throughout the entire house just to make that one section bearable? It’s very possible that this room is leaking air and costing you a lot of money in the process. Sealing up all the gaps where air is escaping will make that room much more comfortable and save you a lot of energy in the process.
Air leaks in homes can be fairly common for older homes. In newer homes, they can be a result of improperly mounted windows or doors, or simply due to the design of a window or door frame. Weatherstripping your home is a great way to cut back on this escaping air, but you have to know where to apply it. Baseboards, door frames, window frames, and even light switches and outlets can leak air. Insulation in the walls can help keep a room comfortable and can also make an attic more energy efficient.
An energy audit can help you find all of the air leaks in your home, allowing you to target the specific areas that need help. You can do a preliminary energy audit yourself by closing up every opening in your house, lighting a stick of incense, and slowly waving it around all corners, windows, and doors in your home or room. When the smoke drastically changes direction, you’ve found an air leak. Use caulking, insulation, or other weather stripping to seal it up. Air leaks can drive up energy bills in both the winter and the summer, so the sooner you seal up your house, the sooner you’ll start saving, and the more you’ll be able to save!