Summer has officially arrived in Texas, with temperatures topping 100 degrees over most of the state.
That means Texans' electric bills will soon be spiking from summer air conditioning use, but there are many ways customers can cut their electric bills during the summer.
First, if you haven't shopped for a low electric rate, now is the time to do so. Many Texans who haven't shopped for a few years -- or have never shopped -- are paying 50% or more for their power than their neighbors who have shopped, with non-shoppers paying above-market energy rates as high as 12 or 13 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Residential customers shopping for a low rate can find electric rates as low as 7 cents per kWh in the Dallas area, and 8 cents per kWh in the Houston area. Rates for business customers are even lower.
If you're currently paying 10 cents per kWh, and switch to a plan that's only 7.5 cents per kWh, on average you can save $300 a year (based on 1,000 kWh average monthly usage).
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) is about to launch a public awareness campaign to help customers recognize opportunities to reduce their electric usage, and preliminary materials developed for the campaign note that customers can save up to 20% by taking simple steps to reduce their usage.
In particular, by raising the temperature at which your air conditioner is set by just 1-2 degrees, you can save up to 16%.
Other measures highlighted by the information filed with the PUC include turning your electric water heat down 10 degrees, and closing your blinds.
You can reduce use, save money and stay comfortable, the PUC's campaign will highlight, with little changes that are easy and that can add up to big energy savings.