Texas produces and consumes more electrical power than any other state. Twelve years have passed since it deregulated energy sales to citizens and businesses. The bill was approved by state lawmakers in 1999 and went into effect three years later. Deregulation made it possible for many Texans to select their natural gas and electricity suppliers.
About three out of five people in Texas buy electric power from deregulated providers of their choice. Towns with local utilities have the ability to opt out of the competitive market, so residents of cities like Garland, San Antonio and Austin can’t switch providers. However, this option is available in many major cities, such as Houston and Fort Worth. In Texas, choosing an energy company is somewhat like selecting an Internet service provider. There are many factors to take into consideration. Some firms offer contracts at fixed rates, prepayment plans or power from eco-friendly sources. Various other bonuses and free services may be included. Energy prices also vary considerably from one provider to the next. Suppliers have a wide range of policies on deposits, termination fees, discounts and billing options. They also use different methods to set their rates. Texas residents who own wind turbines or solar panels should find out if specific providers will pay them for excess power. As in any industry, some energy companies offer better customer service than others.
Is there a single best choice?
Every customer has different priorities and the options vary in each city, so the best provider is different for every individual. A busy Texan who wants predictable bills may pick a fixed-rate plan. On the other hand, someone who has time to monitor and compare the latest rates might choose a variable-rate option with prices that change every month. Regardless of what supplier a Texas resident chooses, the same utility continues to maintain the infrastructure and “deliver” the natural gas or electricity. Customers do not contact deregulated energy suppliers when outages and maintenance problems occur. Likewise, these companies don’t install meters or connect new homes to the grid. A few suppliers do offer to maintain certain types of household equipment. The process is relatively easy. After researching different companies to find the best option, a person can call or otherwise contact the supplier of his or her choice. The energy provider will request that the customer sign a contract. When the company receives a signed agreement, it only takes about a week for the change to go into effect. Electric Companies in Laredo, TX are supported by multiple retailers.
If you live or own a business in Dallas or Fort Worth, be sure to check out Reliant Energy’s competitive electricity rates.
Energy-efficient upgrades and sustainable design are growing in popularity for very good reason. Homeowners are realizing that making smart design and green upgrade choices saves money. Switching to more energy-efficient products and green design requires an initial investment, but it pays for itself in long-lasting energy savings.
Choose a green energy source, such as solar or wind power. To find and compare green energy retailers in Texas for example, you can visit www.texasenergycompanies.net.
Energy Efficient Appliances
For nearly any appliance, you can think of, there are more energy efficient models now available. Some cost a little more than other appliances but they quickly pay for themselves by lowering your energy bill.
The EPA has made it easy for consumers to buy wisely. When shopping for new appliances, look for those that are ENERGY STAR certified. The EPA offers this certificate to appliances only after the model has gone through strict testing for energy efficiency. Look for this on furnaces, air conditioners – both window units and central air units – water heaters, clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators and more.
Energy Efficient Construction and Renovation
Even if you have installed energy-efficient appliances, your home can lose a lot of energy through poor design and construction. Inefficient windows, air leakage around windows and doors, inefficient insulation all lead to higher energy bills and a greater negative environmental impact.
Replacing old windows with new, energy-efficient windows will keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Although the initial cost of these windows can be a little high, the energy they will save can greatly reduce your utility bill.
By using caulk and weather stripping to seal gaps around doors, windows and ductwork you can thwart a great deal of energy loss.
Incorporate natural lighting into your design by adding skylights. These beautify a space while saving energy.
Smart landscaping provides shade, does not contaminate the soil and does not require a lot of water. Consider replacing a standard lawn, which requires a lot of water and upkeep to look good, with ground covers or a rock garden.
Buy a rain barrel to collect water for your plants. You can also conserve water by planting drought-resistant plants that require little watering. Contact your county extension office or local garden retailers to learn about suitable plants for your area.
To receive more protection from the glaring hot sun, Plant fast-growing shade trees in your yard.
Making these design and construction upgrades can make your home an energy-saving paradise. The sooner you start making these changes, the sooner you will start saving.
When you are redecorating your home, you should avoid products that contain formaldehyde. These unpleasant odors are considered by some people to be unsafe. Choose water-based paints and finishes to be on the safe side. Water-based paints offer low odor and go on smooth and rich. These products are popular because they also dry quickly. Varnish used to be a popular way to finish a countertop or floor. There are now water-based top coats that are not flammable. This makes them a popular choice for people who don’t want dangerous fumes in their Read more…
You’re ready to make some updates to your home and you’d like to go green with your new purchases. Get out your reading glasses and be prepared to do a little research to ensure that your choices are made from renewable, sustainable or recycled products.
Look for wood that is harvested from managed forests or is composed of sustainable materials. Cork, bamboo and eucalyptus wood are all good examples of sustainable hard floor coverings.
Floor tiles that are made of recycled plastics, rubber or Read more…
The word ‘sustainability’ gets tossed around a lot when talking about construction, but what does it mean, exactly?
While there’s no one clear definition of sustainability, in general the word describes a process of construction that tries in various ways to reduce as many construction-related environmental impacts as possible.
Construction of any type takes a large toll on the environment, including the use of natural resources, energy use, and construction waste. Luckily, many in the construction field are looking at new ways of doing things that are less harmful to the planet.
Some of the many Read more…
More and more construction and project managers are looking towards sustainable construction materials to provide advantages to their projects in cost and time savings. Sustainability has become a catch-phrase in the industry with everything from material choice to design being affected. While many people will assume that these “greener” choices have to do with a long term environmental concern; their advantage is very real and immediate to the building company.
Sustainable construction materials are typically local materials. This can mean that they are produced from local resources or, are recycled resources from the job itself. Either way, the Read more…
Although the housing industry is slowly recovering, in many parts of the country the market is still sluggish. One way to increase the value of a home is by using sustainable materials. Both new home construction and remodeling projects can incorporate earth-friendly materials.
There is a growing interest in creating safer healthier homes. Unlike traditional building materials, sustainable products don’t emit toxic volatile organic compounds. Indoor air quality is improved when natural minimally-treated wood and other materials are used.
Utility bills can be reduced by Read more…