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7 Things to Know About Your Texas Smart Meter

Mar 12 2024

Smart Meters have been replacing traditional electromechanical meters across the United States for years. In data from 2022, 72% of U.S. electric meters had “smart” capabilities. In other words, if you live in Texas, there’s a good chance you have a Smart Meter.

What is a Smart Meter?

There’s an electricity meter onsite that tracks the amount of energy used in every home and business. The traditional metering for many years was the analog meter. This type of meter required monthly reading by in-person meter readers from your utility. The meter readers would note the usage displayed on the unit’s face indicating the total kilowatt-hours (kWh) you used in the previous billing period.

Over the years, metering technology has advanced significantly. The traditional meters started being replaced by more sophisticated and efficient Smart Meters. With digital communication technology, these meters don’t require a person to physically come read each meter. Instead, Smart Meters transmit and confirm energy usage data directly through the Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU) assigned to the address.

Smart Meters are part of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). The infrastructure allows two-way communication between the meters and utilities. The result is a streamlined system that offers a number of capabilities and benefits for customers, utilities and the electric grid.

Since this technology is so ubiquitous in the Lone Star State, it’s important to be familiar with what Smart Meters are, what they can do and how you can get the most out of yours. Read on for seven important things to know about your Texas Smart Meter.

1. Smart Meters allow you to access detailed energy data

Gone are the days of waiting for your monthly bill to see how much energy you used. With Smart Meters, you can monitor your energy consumption in real time. That’s because usage data is recorded in 15-minute intervals. That’s 96 readings per day! You can now view your electricity usage information by registering for a Smart Meter Texas account or granting access to your data to your electricity provider. This includes 15-minute interval data as well as meter attribute information like installation date and the name of the TDU. It also includes the Electric Service Identifier ID (ESIID), which is helpful to have if you want to sign up with a new retail electric provider.

2. Smart Meters empower you to monitor and manage your usage

Having access to your granular energy usage data offers many benefits. You can pinpoint high-usage periods and identify potential energy inefficiencies in your home. Using the data at your fingertips you could change your habits to consume less energy and potentially lower your monthly bill.

3. Texas Smart Meters support Time-of-Use pricing

Time-of-Use pricing is a billing structure that charges different rates for electricity depending on the time of day. During off-peak hours (such as nights and early mornings) and when less energy tends to be used in your region, pricing can be less expensive. This incentivizes customers to adjust their usage to off-peak hours, which helps minimize stress on the electric grid.

4. Smart Meters make service connections and disconnections faster

Smart Meters make it possible for utilities to connect and disconnect electricity through automation instead of scheduling a technician to do it onsite. This can be extremely helpful if you’re anxiously waiting for your electricity to be turned on.

5. Smart Meters make it easier to identify outages and restore power

Thanks to the interval data of Smart Meters, utility companies are able to detect areas affected by power outages and restore connections more efficiently. Additionally, Smart Meters can trigger automated notifications to customers and technicians during outages. This keeps all parties up to date about an outage situation.

6. Smart Meters help improve electric grid management

A growing population plus more electronic devices to power create stress on the electric grid. Utility companies can use data from Smart Meters to better manage power outages and restoration events, as well as reduce outage duration and costs.

7. Evidence shows Texas Smart Meters are safe

Some consumers raise concerns about data security and radio frequency (RF) exposure related to Smart Meter usage.

Utilities take cybersecurity seriously. Just like banks or cable companies, utilities employ advanced security and encryption technologies to protect your data and regularly audit their systems.

The RF emitted from Smart Meters is very low — well below the limits set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). And because Smart Meters are usually installed outside, people are further away from RF waves than they are when using other RF-emitting household devices like cell phones, baby monitors and microwaves.


Texas Smart Meters have transformed the way electricity is monitored and managed — by utilities and consumers. They offer electricity customers greater control over their usage while helping to create a more efficient and sustainable electric grid. Understanding how your Smart Meter works gives you the power to make informed decisions about your energy usage (which can potentially lower your monthly bill).

With Everything Energy, you can make informed decisions about your electricity provider and plan. Start shopping for energy today using our innovative search tools.

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The Cheap Energy Device You Need: Smart Plugs

Nov 01 2022

In times like these, even the cheapest electricity rates can add up. Luckily, we’re living in the age of advanced technology. By making your home “smarter,” you can better take control of your energy usage. And whether you’re dipping your toe into home automation or creating a total “smart home,” smart plugs are a cheap energy device that can help you conserve electricity use — and do so much more.

What is a smart plug?

smart plug is a small piece of equipment that you plug into an electrical outlet. You then plug your electrical item into the smart plug. Using your home’s Wi-Fi connection, it gives you the ability to throttle power on and off, even when you’re not physically there. 

For example, say you want to install a smart plug on a living room lamp. Simply insert the smart plug into the outlet. Then, plug the lamp into the holes on the smart plug and you’re ready to go. Yep, it’s that easy!

The main benefits of smart plugs are greater control over energy usage, potential energy savings and convenience.

How do smart plugs work as a cheap energy device to control electricity usage?

Smart plugs connect to your home Wi-Fi. You can then control them remotely via an app or by voice command. You can even set up a schedule for each plug. 

The smart plugs you purchase will come with instructions that tell you exactly which app(s) can be used to control it and how to set it up. If you already have home automation equipment, it’s best to make sure the smart plug(s) you purchase are compatible with the app(s) you currently use. 

Perhaps this sounds daunting if you’re new to home automation. However, using a smart plug offers great convenience. Plus, these small, cheap energy devices give you control over how you use electricity.

And best of all, you don’t need to worry about tools, electrical wiring or complex installation tasks. 

What happens if my Wi-Fi goes out?

If your internet cuts out, your smart plug won’t be able to respond to your voice commands or any adjustments you make in the app. However, there should be a button on the side of most smart plugs. Pressing this button keeps items operational even without Wi-Fi. 

If you’re on vacation or otherwise have an important task scheduled for one or more of your smart plugs while you’re away, you may worry that your Wi-Fi will let you down. To know for sure, many internet providers let you monitor your home Wi-Fi status and reset your connection remotely via an app.

How much do these cheap energy devices cost?

Pricing depends on the brand and type of smart plug you choose. You can usually find high-quality, single plugs for less than $10 online or in retail stores. Packs with two or four of the devices can net you a better price per plug.

How can I use smart plugs around my home as a cheap energy control option?

  • Device charging

Laptops and cell phones charge faster these days than they did a decade ago. Plus, some devices can actually overcharge (damaging the battery) or overheat (creating a fire hazard). And there’s always sneaky phantom load to contend with — using energy unnecessarily when a device is in standby mode. So, charging your laptop or smartphone overnight or for extended periods of time is not efficient. A smart plug can be used and automatically shut off after a set amount of time.

  • Crockpot scheduling

Many Crockpots do not include the option to turn on or off at pre-set times. For those appliances, a smart plug can be used to start or stop the cooking when needed.

  • Coffee brewing

Likewise, a smart plug can transform a non-programmable coffee maker. By scheduling your machine to start brewing when your alarm goes off, you’ll always wake up to a hot cup of Joe.

  • Lamp operating

We all have that one lamp that always seems to be left on for way too long. Attached to a smart plug, that lamp is now under your control. Schedule it to turn on to comfort pets at night, to deter intruders when traveling or even to help get you out of bed. Then, turn it off remotely via your smartphone, or set up an automatic shut-off time.

  • Holiday lighting

Strands of lights make for a festive atmosphere. But they also consume electricity. Smart plugs, like traditional light programmers, allow you to put your lights on a schedule. But you also gain the ability to turn them on or off from your smartphone.

  • Cheap energy peace of mind

Are you the type to leave for vacation without turning off the curling (or regular) iron? A smart plug will save the day. Instead of being consumed by worry, you can simply turn off the smart plug from your phone. 

How many smart plugs do I need for my home?

The choice of how many smart plugs to own is yours! There’s no “correct” number. Some people like to start with one and see how they like it. Others love the convenience of on-the-go control so much that they use smart plugs all over their home.

No matter how “smart” you decide to make your home with these handy, cheap energy devices, know that you’re not alone. In 2021, the smart plug market was valued at $5.29 billion. But it is expected to balloon to $99.84 billion by 2030 according to a recent market report by The Brainy Insights. 

It looks like the smart plug is here to stay!

Will I see a return on my investment using this cheap energy efficiency solution?

While smart plugs are a cheap energy device, they do still represent a small investment. In some cases, they could eventually save you money by helping you use electronics less frequently and only when needed. 

Some scenarios will probably not net you large energy and monetary savings. For instance, using a smart plug for a coffee maker or lamp will provide added convenience (and peace of mind during travel). But these items consume such a small amount of energy that it could take a while to see a return on your investment (ROI). 

However, in other scenarios, a smart plug could start paying for itself quickly. Try using your smart plug with an item that:

  • Is turned on many hours a day when it doesn’t need to be; 
  • Doesn’t have an internal automatic shut-off mechanism; and
  • Uses more than a trivial amount of kilowatt hours when active

In short, to see an ROI, you should be strategic in your smart plug use. 

Find cheap electricity plans for your smart home

How do you decide on an electricity provider or plan with so many available in Texas? Turn to Everything Energy. With tools that quickly narrow down options based on your lifestyle and preferences, it’s easy to make the right choice — from cheap energy and price security to extra perks, clean energy and more. Start your search today!

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First Look: Compare Electricity Rates the Newest Way

Jun 21 2022

If you’re one of the many Texans wanting to shop and compare electricity rates from different providers, listen up. We have a cool new tool for you to use!

Everything Energy’s Personalized Pricing tool lets you sort and filter electricity plans using your very own usage history — gathered from your home’s Smart Meter (with your consent, of course). That data allows us to provide you Everything Energy’s Personalized Pricing tool lets you sort and filter electricity plans using your very own usage history. The data we gather from your home’s Smart Meter (with your consent, of course) allows us to provide you with more accurate bill estimates. With those cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) rates translated into dollar figures, budgeting is a breeze. Best of all, it’s so simple. You can start viewing your personalized pricing and comparing electricity rates in less than five minutes!

Benefits of utilizing your Smart Meter data to compare electricity rates

Your home’s Smart Meter records your electricity usage in real time, typically at 15-minute intervals. Then, it digitally sends that data to your utility [Oncor, CenterPoint, AEP Texas or Texas-New Mexico Power (TNMP)]. Smart Meter Texas™ (SMT) securely stores that data. When you authorize Everything Energy to access that historical data to help you shop and compare plans, you can view:

  • Your lowest, highest and average monthly usage
  • Your usage breakdown by weekend vs. weekday and night vs. daytime
  • Personalized rates and monthly bill estimates from Texas electricity providers
  • Plans that best suit your established usage habits

With all of this information, your search for some of the best electricity rates and providers for your unique needs will provide better-fitting results. For example, imagine your data shows that you use electricity a lot at night. You can select the “Weeknight Discount” filter to narrow your search down to plans that offer lower rates at night.

In short, by considering the big picture, you can make a more informed decision about your next electricity plan.

compare electricity rates
Everything Energy’s Personal Pricing Tool displaying usage analysis

Personalized pricing from electricity providers, at your fingertips

In just three simple steps, you’ll be able to compare electricity rates and find the perfect match to meet your family’s needs, preferences and lifestyle.

Step 1: Help us find your Smart Meter

After you enter your ZIP code on EverythingEnergy.com, you’ll be taken to a page showing electricity plans in your area. In the left navigation of this page, click the “Get Started” button. A screen will appear asking for your service address. This will help us locate your Smart Meter.

Step 2: Obtain an authorization email

To protect your privacy, Smart Meter Texas requires each customer to provide authorization if they want to give a third party (like Everything Energy) to access it. On this screen, simply input your email address and full name as it appears on your electricity bill and select your current provider. After you press ‘Submit,’ check your inbox — you should see an email from Smart Meter Texas.

Step 3: Confirm your authorization

In the email you receive, simply click the Confirm button at the bottom of the email. Then, go back to the Everything Energy screen and let us know that you’ve completed the authorization process by clicking the ‘Permission Granted’ button.

Congratulations! You can now put your own data to work as you shop and compare energy plans from trusted electricity providers in Texas.

Compare electricity rates today

Have you tried our new, personalized approach to shopping for energy? You’re just a few steps away from customized search results. Compare electricity plans and rates, and find the perfect energy match for you. Try it out!

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What is a Time Of Use Electricity Plan?

Apr 07 2021


  • Time of Use plans are designed to reduce demand on the electric grid during peak usage.
  • They do this by incenting customers to shift their usage to off-peak times, by offering a lower price for electricity.
  • You can save a lot of money on your electric bill if your usage matches the plan.
Modern home at dusk with all the lights on.

How does a Time of Use electricity plan work?

Traditional electricity plan have a fixed rate that applies to all your electricity use during the billing period. You pay the same rate for your electricity regardless of the time of day or the season you are in. However, time of use electricity plans (TOU) have a variable rate that might be higher during peak hours of day, and lower during times of lower usage. Reliant Energy offers a ‘Free Nights’ and a ‘Free Weekends’ plan, for example, and Green Mountain Energy offers several plans with discounted rates at night, when you are most likely to be charging an electric vehicle.

Time of Use plans are designed to reduced demand on the electricity grid during peak hours. Residential electricity use rises in the morning as people wake up, and wanes as they go to work, rising again in the early evening as people come home and turn on lights, cook dinner, run dishwashers. There are also seasonal shifts – electricity use is much higher on summer afternoons in Texas when all our air conditioners are battling the heat. TOU plans were designed to encourage electricity customers to shift usage to times when there is less demand, with a lower price being their reward for conserving during peak hours. Customers that are able to shift usage can save money on their electricity bill with a TOU plan.

How to save money with a Time of Use Electricity Plan

When reviewing a TOU plan, understand the peak and off-peak hours. Each TOU plan has it’s own distinct usage hours. Peak hours are the most expensive days of the day for billing since everyone uses electricity at that time. Off-peak hours are cheaper because electricity usage is lower. If you can shift usage to the off-peak hours, these plans may save you money on your electric bill. For example, if you are never home on the weekends to take advantage of a plan with lower-priced electricity on Saturday and Sunday, you may not be able to take advantage of the benefits. If you have an electric vehicle, charging during off-peak night hours can save you a lot money. Use this information while shopping for your electricity plan and find the right electricity plan to suit your family’s lifestyle.

Understand the billing plan from your electricity provider; While you may be trying to shift your usage to low-cost hours, you’ll still pay for the electricity you use during peak hours. Be sure to understand what you are being charged during peak hours. It’s important to read the energy facts label when shopping for your plan, which will help you understand what the peak hours cost and keep you from getting surprised.

Navigate lifestyle changes to fit into off-peak hours. Once you understand the off-peak hours and rates of a potential electricity plan, think about how much you can shift your electricity usage into those hours. Can you do all your laundry on the weekend, to take advantage of Free Weekends? Instead of running the dishwasher right after dinner, can you wait until you go to bed, and take advantage of Free Nights? If you have a swimming pool, can you run the pool pump and cleaners during lower-cost hours? The average energy charge displayed on the website includes a certain percentage of usage during each rate period. You can see this number on the plan’s EFL. Look for something like: Average price calculation is based on consumption profile over 12 months of 42% of consumption at
nighttime as defined below. If you can shift your usage, so that you use more that that percentage of your electricity during that period, you’ll pay less than the advertised Average Price per kWh at that usage level.

How do I pick the right electricity plan?

Time of Use plans can definitely save you money if your usage fits the right curve, or if you are able to shift your usage to those lower-price hours. These plans also help keep the electric grid stable by reducing demand that stresses the grid during peak hours. Piqued your interest? Check out the Time of Use plans from our reliable providers.

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