Is Your Meter Defective in Carrollton, Texas?

carrollton texas electricity ratesIf you have noticed an increase in your Carrollton, Texas electric bill but do not believe your actual usage has changed, your electric meter might be the cause. The operating condition of an electric meter is not something people normally consider when their bill rises. Often, they just assume the rates have gone up or their usage has increased. Malfunctioning meters do exist; after all, your electric meter is just a piece of equipment and equipment does not always last a lifetime.

If you think your meter might be malfunctioning, contact your Carrollton, Texas electric service provider. According to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, you have the right to have your meter tested. Even if you do not think your meter is malfunctioning, you can still request to have it tested once every four years without a charge. If you request to have it tested more than once in a four-year time and it is not malfunctioning, you may be charged for the test.

If your electric bill seems high, consider having your meter tested. You can also use our comparison chart to compare the electric rates of Carrollton, Texas providers. You may not realize it but electric rates can vary from provider to provider. While you may be more than satisfied with your electric service, you may not be as satisfied with your bill. Using our handy comparison chart allows you the chance to compare the rates and make an informed decision. You are not bound to one electric provider!

If you need help on the phone please call one of our energy consultants at 1-800-971-4020

How to Use The Google Smart Meter in Texas

Google PowerMeter DeviceGoogle PowerMeter is a free energy monitoring tool that helps you save energy and money. Using energy information provided by your Texas electric utility smart meters and energy monitoring devices, Google PowerMeter enables you to view your home’s energy consumption from anywhere online.

Benefits of Google PowerMeter

  • Find What Devices and Appliances Are Always on
  • Predict Your Energy Costs
  • Plug in Your Fixed Electric Rate per kWh to customize your data
  • View How Others Have Used Google Power Meter
  • Track Energy Usage Over Days, Weeks, and Months

You will be able to quickly see patterns of electric usage during certain times of day and pinpoint what devices are using most of your energy. You may have never even thought about what appliances in your home causes you to spend the most on your electricity but the data available from Google smart meter will allow you to plan and budget to plan how you use your energy and how to lower costs.

Even if you are not the type of person to budget nd plan the Google Smart meter application that is available online keeps track of all the data for you. The application even automatically creates the graphs and shows you the patterns for where you can save the most money.

This online application is perfect for me and considering Oncor electric utility which is agressively impleneting smart electric meters in their service area is my utility I will not have to wait long to use this app.

If you are in the Dallas Fort Worth area chances are you already have a smart electric meter installed by Oncor Electric Delivery. If so I encourage you to go to the link below and sign up with Googles application.

http://www.google.com/powermeter/about/about.html

One of the neatest things about the Google smart meter app is the dark green area of their chart. The dark green area shows you what applianxes in your house are always on. Many people do not realize it in Texas but many of the appliances we use suck energy out of the electric outlet even when you turn off the device.

The Google Power meter will help you pinpoint those devies and retrofit the outlet or device so that it no longer takes energy from your usage while not being used. If you do not want to spend money on retrofits you can atleast begin unplugging those devices from the wall as an alternative.

If nothing else this app is very cool and interesting to play around with and review even if decide not to implement in changes in your electricity usage consumption and behavior.

Oncor is not currently listed as a PowerMeter partner but you can easily purchase a cheap device to use with this application in correspondence with your smart meter. Below are a couple of devices that can be purchased that are compatible with the Google PowerMeter application.

http://www.currentcost.com/powermeter/

http://www.theenergydetective.com/store/

Prepaid Electricity Company Rules in Texas

The PUCT of Texas has written some new rules for the public to review about if prepaid electricity companies in Texas should begin transitioning their customers over to a HAN device (Home Area Network). This is typically a ZigBee Smart Energy chip on the meter that allows a home electric meter to send back real time prepaid electricity data to the electric utility. As of June 2009 there were no commercially available in-home devices for checking your real time prepaid electricity meter data however the PUCT has made it available on their portal but you have to wait one day before you can see it. Start looking out for the smart meter Texas portal which will be available for anyone with a smart meter as well as those prepaid electricity customers using a smart meter and Zigbee smart meter chip to allow prepaid information to transfer over to the electric utility. At this time this smart meter payment system is not available for prepaid electricity customers in Texas. You will need to continue to use Ace Cash, telephone payment, and other arrangements.

How Often Can Prepaid Electricity Payments be Made?

A prepaid pay as you go electric company in Texas must allow you to make payment weekly. So if you want to prepay for your electric service every week they cannot decline your payment. The prepaid electric company must let you know atleast every two weeks what your estimated current balance is, the time and date, and estimated number of days of remaining electric service on your account.

A prepaid electric company must respond to your request to what your remaining prepaid balance is by atleast the following day prior to 5 p.m.

How To Qualify For An Electric Rate Discount?

If you qualify for an electric rate discount from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Texas Lite Up program then the prepaid electric provider must assist with working with these agencies. The pay as you go electric company must assist with provisioning energy assistance that comes from DHHS or Texas Lite Up.

It should be noted that a prepaid electricity company is not responsible for making sure your information is accurate with the DHHS. If there is even a difference with a phone number or date of birth you will be declined by Texas Lite Up. Unfortunately Texas Lite Up does not communicate this to the electric company so you will want to call and find out from both the provider and Texas Lite Up what information they have on file for you is. Everything must match or your assistance will be declined.

If you qualify for food stamps or other government assistance you will automatically qualify for energy assistance provided your information is the same at both places. Be sure to check!

Why Not Use a Traditional Electricity Company in Texas?

Considering that prepaid electricity companies in Texas charge the highest energy prices among all providers why not pay a deposit and save several hundred dollars? If you are considering a pay as you go Texas electric company you are likely a low-income electric service customer. The department of health and human service and Lite-Up Texas already have a rate assistance program for you. Texas electric companies are required to work with DHHS low income residents in working out arrangements to lower deposit amounts as well as your per kWh electric rate. Prepaid electric companies will end up costing you a fortune but a traditional electric company will give you a cheap price for energy and you can avoid the deposit. Try some of these traditional electricity companies in Texas first before going with a pay as you go energy company. You can try Champion Energy, Bounce Energy, Ambit Energy, TXU Energy, Startex Power, Green Mountain Energy, Reliant Energy, and the list goes on. Some will be easier to work with than others but ultimately your price per kWh and customer experience will be better served with one of these electric companies than by using a pay as you go provider.

Required Notifications To Help Avoid Being Disconnected

At the time you enroll with a prepaid electricity company you should be notified by them about how and when payments should be made. How and when account statements will be made available to you. How is electric service usage estimated. If you will receive a notice to pay for more service prior to being disconnected. When will these statements be delivered and how long after delivery do you have to prepay before disconnection. How and when you will be told of your remaining electric usage balance including time and date, and estimated number of days left.

Understand Your Fixed Electricity Rate

If your pay as you go electric company is offering you a fixed electricity rate they are required to disclose: price per kWh, number of kWh the fixed cost is based on, a statement about whether the price will change and why. Some electricity companies are advertising a fixed price based on teh current market prices but when your electric switch occurs charging you a different price. Be sure to watch out and ask about this practice before choosing a prepaid electric company.

A Facts Label Clearly Identifies What Makes Up Your Electric Rate

An electricity facts label is required by the PUCT to be offered to a pay as you go electricity customer. The facts label is like a food label on a can of food and should spell everything out for you. Some providers however will quote one price on the Facts Label and charge you something different. They get away with this practice because they say the price on the Electricity Facts Label was based on that date and not the date of the electric switch. Be sure to ask about this before choosing an energy company.

How Long Do I have To Change My Mind?

You have 3 days to change your mind about signing up with your prepaid electric company. The 3 days starts when your electric service is officially switched and turned on and not when they receive the contract from you.

Is The Advertised Electric Rate What Your Are Paying Now?

A prepaid electric company cannot charge more per kWh than what the provider of last resort is charging. You will have to contact the PUCT to see what the POLR rate currently is.

Somewhere on the electricity bill you should see something that says, “the average price you paid for electric service is”. This will be the electric rate per kWh you are paying. Make sure this rate matches what they advertised to you.

Pay As You Go Electricity Usage Estimates

The prepaid electricity provider should use historical electricity usage data that you have accumulated to revise their usage estimates. If your prepaid electricity company is using estimated usage from the previous tenant even though they have several months of your usage data they could be overcharging you by a lot.

Prepaid Electricity Bill Due Dates

A payment due date should be listed on the electric bill you receive from your pay as you go electric company. Be sure to look out for this.

If the Texas prepaid electric company has a 24 x 7 call center or payment center receive payments than they can make the bill due no later than 5 days after you receive it. Make sure you send in payment or you could risk a disconnection. I would try making payment late in the night to test whether or not they have a 24×7 payment center as this 5 day due date can be a little difficult especially if there are times when you cannot pay.

If the pay as you go electricity provider does not have a 24 x 7 payment center than the due date cannot be less than 10 days after the customer receives the bill.

If your bill is sent by email then according to the PUCT you received it the day the electric provider emailed it to you.

When Is A Prepaid Electric Bill Considered Late?

Your electricity service payment is considered late if it is not received before close of business on the payments due date. During holidays the electric bill due date is extended to the next business day after the holiday.

Prepaid Electricity Facts Label

Your electricity facts label should indicate the number of days a payment of $20, $50, $100, and $200 can be expected to last at monthly usahe levels of 500 kWh, 1,000 kWh, and 2,000 kWh.

The Proper Disconnection Notice You May Receive From A Prepaid Company

The disconnection notice can be sent along with your electric bill or request for a deposit. “Disconnection Notice” should be prominently displayed on the notice. The disconnection date cannot be a holiday, weekend day, or day that the REP is not available to take payment. The disconnection cannot occur less than 5 days after the notice is issued if they have a 24×7 payment center. If the prepaid electric company is not open all hours to take payments then you have a full7 days to make your late payment before being disconnected.

Being Underbilled For Several Months

If you were underbilled for several months and then all of a sudden you receive a gigantic electric bill you have some options. The PUCT allows for you to be put on a deferred billing arrangement with your pay as you go electric supplier. You can pay in $50 installments until you have paid back the underbilled amount without being disconnected for non-payment.

Electric Service For Critical Care Customers

If you have a serious illness and tell the electric provider that if they were to disconnect you it could cause serious harm to yourself and even death than they must send you a waiver. The waiver basically states that you agree to be disconnected if you make a late payment. If you choose not to sign this waiver the REP must switch you to another product or electric provider that avoids a disconnection in electric service.

Solar Panel Installers in Texas

Solar Costs Seem Prohibitive At First

For most people it seems a little confusing after researching the whole idea of a solar panel system for a home. The research ultimately leads people to the conclusion that a solar system just isn’t affordable enough to make sense. Considering that the investment could take 30 years to pay back itself a lot of people that bought a solar system would be dead by the time they began to see dividends on their Texas solar panels investment. There are however some solar panel setups that can actually lock you in to a fixed electricity rate and save you money over a short amount of time.

Cogenerating Your Electric Power

Many people have not considered implementing their solar panel system in a cogeneration capacity. Instead of using deep cycle batteries to store power you could sell your generated electricity back directly onto the electric grid and roll your meter back. It sounds too good to be true at first but the Texas government allows you to generate your own power and sell it back onto the electricity grid whenever you want. I have heard that Oncor and Centerpoint are not very easy to work with in making a cogeneration setup like this work but if you hire a licensed solar installer you will have an easier time of it.

Consultation on What Way Will Work Best When Using Solar

I recommend working with a solar panel installer in Texas that sells top of the line solar products. By hiring the best you will be installing state of the art solar equipment and they will be able to save you money by recommending a system that meets your budget. By and large the cogeneration setup is the most popular. You will not be able to power your air conditioner, refrigerator and other appliances and remain off the grid but you will be able to roll back your electric meter significantly. Proper consulting on how best to implement a solar panel system is just as important as the product you end up buying.

Bottom Line, What Will Your Electric Rate Look Like With Solar?

A good solar installation company will be able to tell you what your average electricity rate will be from the power coming off of your solar system. You can then average that rate into the rate you pay your electricity utility in your area and see if it averages down your costs. You will likely discover that it will bring your rate down some while you build green equity in your home.

Contact a Licensed Solar Installer in Texas

To contact a licensed solar panel company that can set you up with tax incentives from the government and put together a quote based on your budget please go to ESS Solar and fill out their contact form.

Contact ESS Solar

Someone will call you back within 2 hours to see how they may be able to help you.

Cogeneration

Cogeneration and Electricity

Some people have asked about what programs and government credits are available for those who want to produce their own electricity from solar and wind generation and sell excess energy back on the power grid in their city.

When considering how to go about connecting the power you generate to the power grid you have to consider the extra steps involved in the connection process. Normally the phase angle of an inverter will not match the phase of the AC mains source power from the street power lines, and the inverter will pop. Because of this there are a few more things to consider when connecting up to the power grid.

The idea of producing some of your own energy and using some off the power grid as well as selling the energy back you don’t use from your own production is known as “cogeneration”. In other words, you have some power source at your home (like a running stream, or solar panels, or a big windmill), and sell the excess power back to the power grid. To begin the instruction and education process I would read the wiki on this listed below.

You can also sign up for solar panel news and information updates by filling out the contact page with ESS Solar. They are great about sending out newsletter information about new solar technology and prices as it hits the Texas market. They can also help you understand the cost and viability based on your economic situation of whether a cogeneration setup is your best choice when choosing an off the grid electricity solution. ESS Solar can give you a quote on a cogeneration setup that uses some power from the grid while at the same time selling back the solar power you produce to the Texas electric grid. ESS Solar works with Oncor and Centerpoint utilities to sell your solar energy back on the Texas electricity grid which will literally cause your electric meter to run backwards. Texas law requires that a Texas utility comply with any business or home that wishes to sell their generated power back on the grid. ESS Solar will make sure your solar setup complies with Texas law so that your cogeneration power can be sold back on the Texas electric grid.

Solar Panels in Texas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogeneration

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