One thing we can always count on in Texas is a hot summer, which can lead to increased energy use and higher energy bills. If you’re wincing at the higher costs of keeping cool, follow these steps to help ease your energy expenses.
Use less energy
The surest way to lower your energy costs is, of course, to use less energy. In the summer, you’ll find the highest potential savings comes from your HVAC, which is responsible for about 55% of your energy use.
Simple steps like setting the temperature on your thermostat a bit higher than usual (we recommend 78 degrees) and turning it up 4 degrees when you’re away from home can make a big difference. Ceiling fans can also make you feel 4 degrees cooler while using much less energy than the HVAC. Plus, you can turn them off when you’re not in the room, because fans cool people, not spaces.
We also recommend checking the efficiency of your HVAC regularly. It’s simple and affordable to measure the difference of the air temperature going into the filter and the air coming out of the vents to make sure it is cooling effectively. If it’s not, consider contacting a licensed technician.
Complete an energy audit
PEC offers an online tool that helps you identify areas in your home for potential energy efficiency improvements. If you go through the online audit and still feel you need help, you can request to have a PEC energy services advisor visit your home and assess your energy use.
Our advisors can point out helpful adjustments and low-cost upgrades to help you save energy, as well as identify PEC programs that can help you save money. Set up a home energy audit by requesting one through SmartHub or calling 888-554-4732.
Rate plans and billing options
We understand it can be difficult to plan financially for the variations in your utility bill. That’s why PEC offers several billing options to help make things a little easier. Our options include:
- Fixed Payment Plan: Eligible members may choose to pay a fixed amount each month based on the average electric use at your location during the 12 months before the plan starts.
- Average Payment Plan: Payment is calculated based on the rolling 12-month use average at your location. Unlike the Fixed Payment Plan, bills will not be the same every month.
- Prepaid Payment Option: Allows you to pay for service before charges are incurred. You can refill your account balance at any time, making it easy to add money to your account during the cheaper months to cover increased costs during the summer.
If you are able to shift your energy use outside of summer’s peak hours (3-7 p.m.), you may be able to save money on our Time-of-Use Rate Plan. Check the Time-of-Use Rate calculator on SmartHub to see how your previous 12 months of billing would have changed if you were on the plan.
If you are struggling to pay your bill, we want to work with you to prevent your service from being disconnected. That’s why we allow qualifying members the chance to temporarily extend the due date of their bills.
If you need to extend the due date on your current monthly bill, a payment extension may be the right option for you. However, once an extension is granted, the extension is not permanent. Your due date will return to the original date listed on your next bill. You can find the billing extension option on SmartHub under Billing & Payments.