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/

Texas Electric: What to Do If You’ve Been a Victim of Electric Cramming

Many Texas electricity consumers are paying more for electricity than they need to. And the kicker is, they don’t even know it. How is this possible? In short, electric cramming. Following is what it is and what to do about it if it’s happened to you.

 

What Is Electric Cramming?

 

Electric cramming is when an unauthorized energy supplier charges you for services that they aren’t even providing. Most customers don’t realize that this is happening to them, so it can go on for months – or even years – if you are not diligent about checking the charges on your Texas electric bill.

If You’ve Been Crammed, Following Is What You Need to Do

1. Contact Your Texas Electricity Supplier Immediately: Tell them about the charges and that you are a victim of electric cramming.

Note: You should pay the rest of your bill on time (just don’t pay the cramming charges). If you don’t pay the legitimate portion of your bill, you risk having your electric service terminated.

2. Ask for Removal of Charges: Your electric company will usually comply with this request immediately.

Tip: If you go back through old bills and find that you’ve unwittingly paid cramming charges, ask for a refund.

3. File a Complaint: If you can’t come to a resolution with your Texas electricity company, you can file a complaint with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) by calling 888-782-8477.

When you start examining your Texas electric bill for unauthorized charges, you may notice that what you pay per kilowatt hour (kWh) is higher than the norm. If this is so, you may be using a prepaid electric service plan where costs can be 25, 30 or 40% higher than those who have regular plans and enjoy some of the lowest rates around.

Even if you have bad credit or what’s considered a low income, conventional Texas electricity companies have low-deposit and no-deposit electric plans that can help you save – a lot – on your monthly energy bill. All you have to do is contact your Texas electricity company to find out about which options they have that can help you.

August 2009 Dallas Electricity Rate Comparison

Today is August 14 2009 and we have gone out to the power to choose website to check on electricity rates from companies like Champion, Startex, Green Mountain Energy, Spark Energy, TXU, Ambit, Stream, Bounce, Texas Power and Reliant Energy.  We checked on some other Texas electricity providers but these energy companies provide a good overall comparison of rates. We have sorted the electricity rates  in order from cheapest to most expensive using the pricing available on the Power to Choose website.

Startex Power, Champion, and Green Mountain Energy, are some of the more popular electricity companies we recommend and Startex and Champion are currently offering some of the cheapest available electricity plans in the Dallas Texas area. There are no hidden fees or charges with Startex or Champion. If you use below 500 kWh per month than a $4.95 monthly service fee will kick in with Startex Power but other than that you are going to be good with the top two cheapest Dallas electricity plans in the chart.

This chart above is a historical snapshot of what Dallas residential electricity rates looked like for the month and day of August 14 2009. These charts sometimes help in determining the track record of a Texas electricity companies overall consistent performance in delivering a low cost electricity price to Texas energy consumers. To see a current comparison of our recommended electricity companies in Dallas Texas please click on our Dallas electricity comparison link by clicking here.

TXU Energy Rates

Compare TXU Energy Rates

If you have been needing to compare and shop for a cheaper Texas electric provider but just have not had the time we would like to encourage you to do so.

Texas electric rates during the summer of 2010 and 2011 have been around 8 – 9 cents per kWh on average when looking at the cheapest providers. During the summer of 2008 a cheap rate would have been 16 cents a kWh. As of October 2011 you can sign up for a cheap electric rate in the Dallas area at around 8.3 cents a kWh for 12 months fixed. In Houston the rate is closer to 9.3 cents a kWh for a 1 year fixed rate. If your TXU Energy rates are becoming unbearably high then we recommend switching to a cheaper electric company. We only recommend that you come off of your TXU Energy rate if you are currently off contract with them. We never recommend that you break a current contract that has not expired yet. The historical utility area of TXU is the Dallas area but they now operate in Houston as well. If you live in a different area you may enter that cities zipcode and click on the button to bring up custom price comparisons for your location.

Going From TXU to Reliant Energy

If you have considered switching off of TXU Energy and onto a new electric provider that you have heard advertise on the radio than please read this. Reliant Energy rates are currently being advertised (back in May of 2009) on billboards and on radio saying that they are now lowering their electric rates by “up to %10”. Unfortunately this means that you would still have to pay Reliant Energy around 13 – 14 cents a kWh when there are several energy providers offering residential electric rates in the 9 – 10 cents per kWh range for a 1 year fixed rate (as of May 2009). Don’t be fooled by a clever marketing campaign. Reliant Energy radio ads have their coworkers on the ads explaining that they love being able to help people but in reality paying an inflated price for electricity service is not really a help in this current economy. There are several reputable electric companies in Texas that offer much cheaper electricity service than Reliant and TXU Energy rates. We have a comparison tool of electric companies that beat both Reliant Energy rates and TXU Electric rates that we would be happy for you to try for yourself and see if in fact there are savings.

Comparison Chart Shows All Fees and Charges in Energy Rate

We encourage you to browse through the 1 year, 2 year, and 3 year fixed electric rate terms and pick the rate and monthly term that suits you best. The chart tool above has all fees and charges disclosed so you know exactly what you are signing up for. We want you to have no surprises when signing up for electric service as some providers we do not have on the chart do not disclose all charges in their rate. We do not work with Texas electricity companies that hide certain fees and charges that most electric companies will disclose in plain English.

Other Energy Providers and Rates

Spark Energy

Amigo Energy

Champion Energy

Stream Energy

Champion Energy Retail Electric Provider

Saving Money On Electricity In Houston

Champion Energy has a very low cost electric rate in the Houston area but current rates now available may be even better so be sure to compare their prices with the many providers and rates listed in our chart. You can find our compare tool at the top right of this page. Back in Jan 8 of 2008 Champion’s price was lower than any of the other electric companies I had seen so far except for Startex Power. Currently there are new providers out there that may beat them both.

As of Jan 8 2008 they only offer one term at 12 months but this is the most popular term for most people so it usually works for most peoples needs. The rate for January is at 11.1 cents a kWh with a $4.95 monthly service fee but Champion’s electric rate has gone up since then. If you add in the service fee into the rate goes up about .004 cents kWh which is still a lower rate then the most competitive providers offering residential electric service in Houston. For a more competitive electric rate then Champion Energy with no monthly service fee we recommend Startex Power. Depending on your area in Texas their rate will be higher or lower.

If you live in Dallas Texas, Tyler Texas, Alpine, Fort Worth or other cities on the other side of the state there are cheaper providers then Champion. You can find out more here. Learn more about Texas Residential Electricity.

North Texas like Dallas and the cities around Dallas have some of the lowest electric rates in the state in comparison to Houston. We have a comparison chart for commercial customers and a more straightforward comparison for residential customers. If you go to the page for your county or city you will see an advertisement with the lowest cost energy providers for that city on the top left.

Learn more about Texas electricity

Learn more about Champion Energy


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