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Compare Power Consumption with a Watt Meter

Jul 26 2022

Have you ever wondered how you can compare power consumption of appliances in your home? Like, how much money does it take to run your refrigerator per day? Or, how much does it cost to leave your laptop plugged in all day? 

There is a handy little device that can tell you all this info and more. And, it might just be your secret weapon on your quest to have the cheapest electricity bill possible.

How can I compare energy prices for each electronic item in my home?

Every plugged-in item in your home draws some electricity. Figuring out which items drain a lot of extra energy is key to proactively lowering your energy usage. A watt meter can help determine energy draw for each device or appliance.

A watt meter is also called a power meter, or electricity usage monitor. It’s a small, handheld device that measures: 

  • The voltage of the outlet itself (how much potential energy it can produce)
  • How many kilowatts an electrical device plugged in consumes over a period of time

A quick review of watts, kilowatts and kilowatt hours

For reference, a watt (W) is a unit of power. A kilowatt (kW) is 1,000 watts, and a kilowatt hour (kWh) is how much energy a machine needs to use in order to run for one hour. Electricity providers’ bills show us how many kWh of energy we use each month. The monthly usage is then multiplied by the cost per kWh to find out how much we owe for energy. (Note: Fees and other charges can increase the final balance). 

How do I use a watt meter?

You can easily use a watt meter to compare power use of items in your home. Follow these three simple steps:

Step 1: Get plugged in.

Plug the watt meter into a three-pronged outlet. Then, plug the item whose usage you want to monitor into the watt meter’s outlet. 

Step 2: Enter your settings.

Following the watt meter manual, set your cost per kWh. (Hint: If you’re not sure where to find this information, check your Electricity Facts Label.)

Step 3: Check back later.

When you check the meter, you will see a reading for how many kilowatts the item has used since it was plugged in. You can also check the total cost it has racked up in that time period. As a result, you can now do some simple math to calculate how much the item uses in a day, week or month. 

Once you know this information, you can compare power consumption among your appliances and electronic devices. You can also compare power consumption of one item when it is in use and when it is in standby mode, too. 

A watt meter empowers you with knowledge, which you can use to take action. For instance, maybe you will decide to unplug heavy energy consumers when not in use to avoid phantom load. Or, maybe you will replace an old and inefficient appliance with one that’s Energy Star-rated. 

Where do I get a watt meter?

Watt meters can be found at home improvement stores. Also, many online retailers, such as Amazon, sell them. Plus, your local library may even have one you can check out for free! 

Compare power companies and plans online.

Compare electricity rates and electricity providers online to find the best match for you and your family’s energy needs. With personalized shopping tools just a few clicks away, Everything Energy helps you narrow down your options with ease. Therefore, why wait another minute — start shopping for energy today.

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Cheap Electricity: Is it Always the Best Choice?

Jul 19 2022

With inflation and the cost of living on the rise this year, many Texans are looking at any and every way to cut back on spending. That includes finding cheap electricity to help lower monthly utility bills — especially in Texas’s hot summer. But is cheap electricity always the best choice for powering your home? Let’s take a closer look at the issue.

Should I be looking for the cheapest electricity rates?

Cheap electricity is the same as more expensive electricity, right? In essence, yes. So, cheap energy plans are very appealing in that respect. By simply choosing the energy plan with the lowest rate, you might assume you’ve found the best plan. But price is just the beginning. You’ll want to consider much more when choosing how to power your home.

Besides cheap electricity, what else should I look for in a Texas energy provider?

Before narrowing it down to the plans with the cheapest energy rates, look at other related factors including:

  • What perks or credits do other, higher-priced electricity plans offer? Are these worth the difference in the energy rate to you?
  • How long has the electricity provider been in business? 
  • Does the electricity provider have a good reputation online and among your family and friends?
  • Does the provider offer tips and tools to help you reduce your electricity usage? (This can potentially help lower your utility bill.)
  • What other “extras” can you get from another provider, such as a mobile app, detailed usage information, energy-efficiency comparison emails, etc.?

Some Texas electricity providers add more value to an electricity plan than others. Along with price, all of these things should be considered when you make your decision. At the end of the day, you want an electricity company you can trust that offers what’s most important to you.

What is the cheapest energy company?

Some Texas energy companies offer a no-frills approach to electricity. This can (but doesn’t always) equate to cheap electricity. Really, there’s no single energy company in Texas that consistently provides the cheapest energy. Plans and pricing change often. So, a low-priced plan you see today may not be the least expensive option tomorrow. 

What else should I know about electricity rates?

Before you choose a cheap electric company or plan based on price alone, take a step back. Do you understand the details related to rates? For example, you may see a great electricity rate online, but on closer look, it turns out to be a month-to-month plan. This means your rate could spike the following month with no warning. Term length matters, and it can affect your average monthly bill.

Also, you’ll want to know how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you use, on average, each month. That way, you can make accurately compare rates of plans. Comparing rates for a monthly usage of 500 kWh to rates for 2,000 kWh can be like comparing apples to oranges.

How do I find cheap electricity plans?

The easiest way to find an electricity plan that fits your budget, lifestyle and needs? Shop and compare electricity plans with Everything Energy. You can even use your Smart Meter Texas usage data to see personalized pricing and monthly bill estimates!

What are the best electricity companies in Texas?

Now you know that there’s no single cheapest energy company in Texas. You also know that many electric companies provide added value to consumers. You can find this value in many forms, like excellent customer service, perks, credits and energy-efficiency guidance. So, now it’s time to combine this knowledge to find electricity companies and plans that best fit you and your family.

When you use an advanced online energy shopping tool, you can look at plans and features side by side. That means you can make apples-to-apples comparisons to find your perfect match.

Are there other ways to lower my electricity bill? 

Getting cheap electricity is not the only way to save money on your electric bill. More ways to help lower your electricity costs include:

  • Earn bill credits: Some electricity providers in Texas will offer a credit on your monthly bill for enrolling in paperless billing, automatic payments or other options. You may even find energy companies that reward you for referrals.
  • Lower your usage: Using less can help lower your bill. It doesn’t have to be drastic. Simple things like changing your AC’s air filter or unplugging devices when charged can make a difference.
  • Make home improvements: Sealing drafty windows and doors or adding insulation can help your home become more energy efficient.
  • Consider upgrades: If you’re in the market for new appliances, check out Energy Star-rated machines. They’re more energy-efficient than most standard appliances. So, they can help you use less and save money over time. 
  • Embrace smart tech: Smart thermostats, plugs, lighting and more can help you save more and use less. 

Find an affordable energy plan today.

As you can see, getting the cheapest electricity that’s out there may not always be the best option for your situation, home energy goals and preferences. But no matter what your top priority is when it comes to electricity, we can help. To get started, just enter your ZIP code at EverythingEnergy.com. We’ll guide you from there.

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Energy Rates in Texas vs. Plan Term Length

Jul 12 2022

Thanks to a deregulated electricity market, most residents have the power to choose their Texas retail electricity provider (REP). They can also choose from many plan term lengths. Energy rates in Texas vary by plans. Often, the term length can affect those rates. 

What term lengths do Texas electricity providers offer?

To meet varying consumer needs, Texas electricity providers offer plans with numerous term length options. The most common term lengths include:

  • Month-to-month: No long-term contract means you can switch plans or providers anytime. However, your rate can change each month. For this reason, month-to-month plans are also referred to as variable-rate plans.
  • 6-month: A contract for half a year, with energy rates locked in for that amount of time.
  • 12-month: One of the most common electricity plan term lengths. You get an entire year of price security.
  • 18-month: A term length with price security for a year and a half.
  • 24-month: Two years of locked-in energy rates.
  • 36-month: Three years of fixed electricity rates.

Any plans with more than a month-to-month term length are also referred to as fixed-rate plans. That is to say, enrolling on a fixed-rate plan lets you lock in the same energy rate for the whole contract.

How do energy rates in Texas relate to a plan’s term length?

Often, but not always, there is an inverse relationship between the number of months of a contract and the price per kWh. That is, the longer the contract term length, the lower the Texas electricity rates may be. 

Why? The longer you’re locked in at a fixed price, the less guessing a retail electricity provider has to do when purchasing power. (And, if an electricity provider guesses too low and cannot supply enough power, they must purchase more power at higher prices to meet customer demand.)

Therefore, the lower rates give consumers an incentive to choose longer term lengths. As a result, the electricity provider lowers its risk of over- or under-buying energy.

Texas electricity rates for long-term plans

When you shop for electricity, you’ll probably see a lot of fixed-rate plans available. Many people prefer to enroll in a long-term electricity plan, for a number of reasons. 

What are the benefits and drawbacks a long-term electricity plan?

An electricity contract with a term length of 6 or more months has a number of benefits:

  • You get a steady, fixed rate for a specific period of time.
  • It’s easier to construct a budget.
  • You won’t have to shop for energy or switch providers as often.

But, a few things to consider about fixed-rate plans include:

  • Many contracts have early cancellation fees
  • You’re locked into a long-term commitment
  • You may not be able to take advantage of market rate drops if they occur

If you think the pros of a long-term contract outweigh the cons, this might be the type of term length for you. If not, you may want to explore a variable-rate plan.

Energy rates in Texas for short-term plans 

As you shop and compare electricity plans for the best electricity rates in Texas, you may come across a number of appealing short-term plans. Some people prefer these variable-rate options.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a short-term electricity plan?

Going month-to-month with your home electricity offers some benefits to the consumer, such as:

  • The flexibility to change plans anytime, without early termination fees
  • More chances to take advantage of lower energy rates in Texas
  • No long-term commitment to any provider

As with fixed-rate plans, variable-rate plans have a few drawbacks, like:

  • Your rate can spike without warning
  • It’s more difficult to budget (you’re at the mercy of the energy market)
  • You may spend more time shopping for energy plans and switching providers

If you think the pros of a short-term contract outweigh the cons, you may want to choose this type of plan. However, if it feels too risky for you, a fixed-rate plan may be your better option.

What affects the variable energy rates in Texas?

The energy rates in Texas for variable-rate plans depend on the market price of energy. As a result, month-to-month electricity plans can experience more volatility than fixed-rate plans. Forces affecting the variable rate include weather, government regulations, geopolitical events, outages and other outside factors, like pandemics and natural catastrophes.

How do I find past rates for a month-to-month plan?

If you’re considering signing up for a month-to-month electricity plan, you probably want to know about the recent monthly rates. You can usually find this information on the REP’s website or by searching the web for the REP and its “past variable rates” or “historical pricing.”

Transmission/Distribution Service Providers (TDSPs) like ERCOT also lists past variable rates for month-to-month Texas electricity plans. 

What’s better: a short-term or a long-term energy plan?

As you can see, each type of electricity plan has its own set of pros and cons. Therefore, these should be  weighed against your unique situation, budget and lifestyle. Then, with careful consideration, you can narrow down which type of plan suits you best.

Shop Texas electricity rates for all term lengths

In conclusion, you now know how energy rates in Texas and a plan’s contract length can be related. As a result, you can now better understand the options available to you. And, you probably have a term length in mind that would best suit your unique situation. 

So, all that’s left to do is simplify your search by using Everything Energy’s tools to shop and compare plans. We make it easy to find your perfect energy match from Texas electricity providers you can trust!

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18 Nifty App Features from Power Companies in Texas

Jul 05 2022

In 2021, there were 143 billion app downloads (more than doubling 2015’s total) and 7 million apps available across iOS and Android platforms. So, it’s no surprise that many power companies in Texas have their own customer applications.  

First and foremost, these energy apps make it easy to do everyday activities such as pay your electric bill and contact customer service. However, they also provide innovative ways to track and manage your electricity usage, connect other related services and even educate yourself to become a more empowered consumer.

Take a peek at some of the amazing things these powerful electricity apps can help you do.

Understand your Texas power usage

While you can’t control your electricity plan’s cost per kWh, you can alter the way you use energy in your home. This can help you become more energy efficient and help lower your bill. Many apps from Texas energy companies help you better understand how you have used electricity in the past. That way, you can make changes to lower your usage in the future. 

1. View your energy usage history

Have you been with the same electricity provider for more than a year? It’s informative to see how much energy you used each month and compare it to previous years of usage. For instance, you may wonder how many kWh you used during an exceptionally hot month or a month where you were out of town for two weeks and left the air conditioner set at 82°. Being able to compare a month like this to that same month the previous year helps you understand the impact of certain environmental or situational factors. Knowing where you’ve been is the only way to know where you’re going.

>> Power tip: Accessing your monthly usage can also help when shopping for a new electricity plan from trusted power companies in Texas. Using Everything Energy, you can view plans and pricing based on your average kWh usage. Simply filter by 500, 1000 or 2000 kWh of usage per month.

2. Monitor your current electricity usage

Smart Meters have advanced our knowledge of personal energy consumption tremendously. We can now see, in near-real time, how we’re using electricity. Many Texas energy companies have apps that can show you your Smart Meter data. Knowing your daily or weekly usage can help you pinpoint energy spikes or dips better than a monthly figure. Then, you can better adjust your thermostat settings, behavior and other factors accordingly.

>> Power tip: By granting Everything Energy access to your Smart Meter Texas usage data, you can view personalized monthly bill estimates. You’ll see projections based directly on your historical electricity usage. You’ll even be provided with a usage analysis, so you can understand how and when you use electricity. For example, we’ll show you have much you use on weekends and weekdays, daytime or nighttime. From there, you can filter your search results to find the plan that best suits your needs. 

3. Learn more about factors that affect your bill

Some apps from power companies in Texas show you how your usage (and bill) can be affected by outside factors. With interactive and customizable graphs, you can see how trends, costs and weather in your area can have a direct impact on your energy use.

Pay your electricity bill

Energy mobile apps let you do even more than just learning about your electricity usage. They also make it easy to pay your monthly bill on time and perform other billing-related actions with just a few taps. 

4. View your current balance

Getting an on-demand balance is helpful if you need to move funds around to make a payment. Or if you want to utilize the figure as you compile your monthly budget. Some apps can even show you a day-by-day balance, so you can estimate your total balance when it comes time to pay.

5. Change your payment method

Need to update your payment details? Gone are the days of calling customer service, waiting on hold and digging through your files to find your account number. Mobile apps make self-service tasks like switching or updating your payment method simple. So, if your card expired, you had to get a replacement card or you just want to pay your bill from a different account, no worries. All you have to do is open the app and edit the details in your settings.

6. Set bill payment reminders

Many electricity apps give you the ability to set a reminder to pay your bill. This feature helps you stay on top of your bills and avoid incurring late fees. It can also serve as an extra reminder if you’re on paperless billing and your e-bills tend to get lost in your inbox. Ditto if you pay your bill by check but you sometimes don’t open mail right away.

7. Schedule a payment to your Texas power company

All it takes to change the day your bill is paid electronically are a few clicks in your energy provider’s app. That means if you’re experiencing a cash shortage or waiting for a deposit to clear, this feature has you covered. It can help you avoid costly overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees from your bank or credit union.

8. Switch between multiple addresses and accounts

Do you receive power at more than one address? Some power companies in Texas have apps that require only a single sign-on for you to manage all of the service locations in your account. This saves you time and the inconvenience of remembering several login passwords.

Manage your Texas electricity provider account

Mobile apps from electric companies have made it easier than ever to take control of your account. Now, you can manage your profile, preferences, services and more.

9. Manage your Texas power services

Paperless billing, autopay and average monthly billing — along with other services your provider may offer — can often be activated (or deactivated) through use of their app.

10. Sign up for add-ons

In addition to those mentioned above, some energy providers offer a suite of related products and services available to consumers. These can include everything from energy-efficient products and backup power to home warranties and donations to support non-profits. Each provider offers unique opportunities, which you can often sign up for directly in the provider’s app.

11. Renew your plan or enroll in a new plan

Are you satisfied with your current Texas electricity provider? Don’t want to shop Texas electricity rates before your current plan expires? You may be able to continue your service in the provider’s app. Whether you have the option to renew your current plan or sign up for a different offer, completing the transaction via a mobile app can be convenient and easy. 

12. Transfer your service to a new address

Moving to a different apartment or house can be stressful. But many mobile apps from energy providers make it easy to just take your plan with you. That means you can schedule your electricity to be turned on in your new place (and turned off in your old place) for a seamless transition.

13. View your contract and plan documents

If you ever need to review your electricity plan’s Terms of Use, Electricity Facts Label or other documents, they can usually be found with your plan details in the provider’s mobile app. This makes it easy should you want to check on items such as your plan’s renewable energy content, price per kWh, early termination fees and more.

Become an empowered energy consumer

Many modern electricity companies want to help consumers make informed decisions about their home energy and how it fits in with their life holistically. This is especially true in the Lone Star State. Most people have the power to choose a Texas energy plan from a lengthy list of providers competing for their business. The electricity companies’ apps provide the perfect medium to share this type of useful information.

14. Earn referral rewards

Some power companies in Texas have referral programs. For example, you can earn a perk like a bill credit when you refer friends and family. This feature can often be accessed via the app, which makes it easier to share your referral ID or link. 

15. Track your green impact

If you’re enrolled in an electricity plan that features energy from renewable sources, some apps let you see just how much of an impact you’re making. For instance, stats and equivalencies can put your impact into real-world terms. Meanwhile, earning badges can be a fun way to motivate yourself to continue living sustainability. 

Some energy apps may give you the option to schedule when to start and stop charging your EV. If you typically charge at night, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to plug in before going to bed. And if you’re enrolled in a time-of-use electricity plan, this feature can be beneficial to the grid and your bill by charging up during off-peak hours when demand and energy rates are lower.

 17. Sync your electricity with other services

The “smart home” continues to evolve. Some energy apps give you the ability to control your smart thermostat, home security system and solar panel production for greater convenience and efficiency.

18. Contact customer service

Help on the go is just a few taps away with an energy app. For questions or problems about your electricity service or account, mobile apps can give you easy access to customer support through email, chat and/or phone. 

Endless options from power companies in Texas 

Perhaps you want an electricity plan with a mobile app that does it all. Or maybe you’d rather have a no-frills, tech-lite plan that keeps it simple. Either way, you can choose the Texas power option that best fits your needs, preferences and lifestyle. To find the perfect match, Everything Energy provides a straightforward way to shop and compareenergy providers and plans available in your area. Start your shopping today! 

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