Power of Texas: Tips for saving on your electric bill

By Michael Lozano Texas

UPDATED 4:24 PM CT Jul. 17, 2023 PUBLISHED 8:12 AM CT Jul. 17, 2023

DALLAS — On a blistering triple digit day, Noe Lizarraga is surveying a homeowner’s roof in Anna, Texas, preparing to install one last round of solar panels.  “You know how much these people were paying in this mobile home right here? Over $500,” Lizarraga said.It’s why Lizarraga, the head of recruitment and talent development at Solio Solar, was initially contacted by the property owner. “Last month, instead of paying, on average, like, $433, his payment, now, is $216,” Lizarraga said.  Any time we see extreme heat or cold, Texans’ minds go to the state power grid, especially after the 2021 Texas winter storm that left many Texans without power.  “At this point, it seems to just kind of be a part of living in Texas, unfortunately,” McKinney resident Susanne Daniels said.  Lizarraga says customers they work with have turned to solar panels to save money.  “You’re going to have to pay somebody every month, you know, every month you’ll get a bill,” Lizarraga noted.  

It’s something Bruce Bullock, the director of Southern Methodist University’s Maguire Energy Institute, says will only grow in conversation as the state grows in its population and infrastructure. “You’ve got more electricity demand, both from homeowners’ standpoint and from a business standpoint,” Bullock said.  Bullock says it’s the accumulation of simple acts that can make a major difference on that monthly bill.  “Your mom told you growing up to ‘turn the lights off and keep the doors closed,’ and just a lot of little things can add up,” Bullock said.  Bullock also suggests using the Choose Texas Power website to compare energy provider rates, in order to find the best option for you. Lizarraga suggests unplugging idle electronics, like TVs and game consoles.“You probably save, you know, $15 to $20, which, of course, if you’re already spending $200, now, your bills are going to be $185. So, it’s just, you know, a little bit of savings can go a long way,” he added.  Bullock says the energy strain isn’t going away, and Texans should do everything they can to save on their energy bills. 

The process of power in Texas 

Power plants harness the big 5: wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas, and coal  From there, central utility (i.e. CenterPoint Energy, AEP Texas, and Oncor) take charge of distribution, running the transmission lines and power polesThe power then goes down to retail providers like NRG, TXU Energy, CPS Energy, and Green Mountain Energy  Lastly, those retail providers, depending on the location, get that energy to the household Ways to save on energy bill invest in a smart thermostat that allows you to control your A/C remotely Ensure you have a fixed energy rate plan to avoid an inflated bill, like the one many Texans dealt with during that major ice stormBullock also suggests looking into solar panels, if it is within your means

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