Information to know when signing up for electricity

We all need electricity in our lives, as it is a vital part of our world. Choosing an electricity provider may seem like a daunting task, but the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) has put measures in place to ensure that information regarding electricity plans is simple and easy to understand for the consumer.

Information to know when signing up for electricity

The Electricity Facts Label (EFL) contains valuable info regarding a selected plan for an energy provider. It tells you the price per kilowatt hour (kWh), the base charge per month,, where your electricity comes from (whether it’s renewable or nonrenewable), and the emissions related to the generations sources. Renewable plans will have fewer or no emissions. EFLs are required for all plans in Texas, so they are standardized across all energy providers. No matter who you go with, the EFL will always look familiar.

 

The Disclosure Chart details how long the contract is with the selected plan, whether it is a prepaid plan, fixed rate plan, or a month-to-month variable rate plan, any fees or credits applicable to the plan, and how much renewable content is used in the energy generation. The amount of renewable energy, as well as any emissions are compared to the state averages, so you can see how your energy plan stacks up environmentally.

 

Finally, retail energy providers (REPs) provide their contact information, including phone numbers, email, website, and physical addresses, and their hours of operation. Once you choose a plan, your REP will send you a terms of service document that will detail explicitly what is included in your plan. Never fear, though, the information found in the EFL and disclosure charts will be enough to effectively compare any one plan to another, or even compare plans between several companies.

Smart Electricity shopping for appliances

When shopping for an appliance, first we look for ones that meet our needs. Then, under that group, we look for the cheapest of the bunch. But are we really getting a good deal? Every appliance and electronic device comes with two price tags: one you pay when you buy it, and the one you pay every month to operate it. Depending on how efficient the model is, you could end up paying more for a cheaper model than if you had gone with a more expensive, but energy efficient version.

Smart Electricity shopping for appliances

How can you be certain how efficient your appliance is? Most new appliances come with a bright yellow tag called an Energy Guide. This tag will tell you the estimated yearly operating cost of the product and show you on a scale where that fits into the range of other models doing the same task. The tag uses the national average for electricity costs per kilowatt hour (kWh) and also lists the estimated yearly usage. The label also will tell you if the appliance is Energy Star certified, which can save you even more.

Energy Star certified appliances are generally 20-30% more efficient than an uncertified model, so while they may cost a little more up front, they could save you more money down the line than if you had purchased the cheaper model. Energy Star certifies all sorts of appliances from refrigerators to computers. Look for this certification to save yourself money over the life of your appliance.