The growth of wind energy in Texas between 2006 and 2009 resulted in transmission congestion and the eastern part of the state was unable to get any of this energy. The amount of wind power that was being generated was too much for the power demand centers to handle. As a result, any excess wind energy had to be curtailed.
In an effort to stem the constraints related to wind energy transmission, CREZ was established in 2008 by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas and featured five zones that had the highest wind potential. In addition, transmission expansion projects were authorized to allow the five zones to receive over 18,000 MW of wind power.
Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) has resulted in a drastic decrease in the curtailment of wind generation in Texas since 20011. The CREZ program has been very instrumental in allowing more wind power to flow to areas in the state that have a higher demand for electricity.
There are so many workers in Texas nuclear power plants who have been on the job 25 years or more, that the plants now need new workers to replace the retiring staff. Most people would wonder why, but those who are approaching retirement realize that these workers are all going to be retiring in the next few years. Because of this, the nuclear power plants need all new workers to keep the plants going.
The employees who are nearing retirement have every right to retire when they are ready, but the concerns over their retirement are leaving power plant operators with a worrisome scenario. Natural gas is cheaper, and workers have to have specialized educations to work in nuclear power plants. Because of this, the nuclear power plants never saw the “renaissance” of nuclear energy that many thought would happen.
If nuclear power operators cannot replace their retiring workforce, we may see a dwindling of nuclear power in favor of cheaper and safer energy options.
In case of a power outage an ice storm, here are some precautions you can take to avoid being left out in the cold.
Always Have Gas in Your Car Tank
Some gas station pumps are powered by electricity. Therefore, ensure that you always have at least 1/2 tank of gas in your car in case there is an emergency that requires you to travel.
Increase the Temperature Setting In Your Refrigerator
Increasing the temperature settings in your refrigerator will enable foods to be preserved for a longer period once the electricity goes out.
Reduce your Trips to the refrigerator
The more you open your freezer or refrigerator, the more cold air that escapes which escalates the temperature. Therefore, strategically plan your trips to the fridge and close the door quickly.
Keep Your Faucet Running
According to the American Red Cross, even a small trickle of water running through your faucet during an ice storm can prevent your pipes from freezing, thus reducing the potential for costly repairs.
Plan to Visit Public Spaces In Extreme Weather Conditions
If temperatures fall during a power outage, you can ensure warmth by visiting malls or other public spaces that have generators.
One of the many benefits of living in a state that has a deregulated energy market is that you have a choice in the company that provides your home with electricity. There is constant competition among electricity companies in Texas to get customers, through offering reward programs and the promotion of a wide range of fix rate plans. The plans are usually ones where the customer is billed for the total energy used at the end of the billing cycle. A credit check is performed on customers who want to lock in low rates for those plans to see if they need to make a deposit before they receive the service.
There are many who require inexpensive electricity but may be unable to afford the deposit or have bad credit history. People who fall into this category include international visitors, high school graduates seeking to start life on their own, or persons who don’t curerently have a spotless credit history. If you fall into one of these categories, your best possible option is to obtain a Texas prepaid electricity plan in order to avoid the paying the deposit.
Despite the fact that a prepaid electric plan might cost slightly more per kilowatt, there are several benefits such as the ability to obtain electricity without the need to pay a deposit. You also only pay for the amount of electricity you think will suffice, which makes it a great option for individuals living on a fixed income.
The way that prepaid electricity works is quite simple. All that you need to do is contact your preferred electricity provider, and open an account with them. You will need to provide your service address and pay for a block of service using one of the company’s payment methods. Most of the companies allow you to make a payment by calling customer service, at a payment center, or online via a computer or a smart phone.
If you want to reduce the size of your electric bill, here are six tips to help you achieve your goal.
1. Use Smaller Appliances
You can save lots of energy by using smaller appliances such as microwaves, electric skillets and toaster ovens instead of using your kitchen range.
2. Get a Smaller Fridge
You are wasting energy if you own an over-sized fridge that is underused. This is because more energy is consumed when the fridge has an undersized load. Therefore, consider replacing it with a smaller one.
3. Reduce the Cycle Time On Your Dishwasher
If you use the shortest cycle on your dishwasher, the dishes will still get clean and you will save some prepaid electricity and water.
4. Clean Filters and Lint Catchers
Clothes dryers, air conditioners and dishwashers use less energy when the filters and lint catchers are clean. Therefore, aim to clean these areas regularly.
5. Reduce Your Drying Time
There’s nothing more delightful than taking warm clothes out of the dryer on a cold day; however, you derive savings for prepaid electricity by cutting down your drying time by a few minutes. Those few minutes will add up over the course of a month and reduce you energy cost.
6. Take It Easy on The Cooling and Heating.
It’s pointless to cool or heat rooms that are not in use. Close the doors to the rooms that are not being used and seal all vents. The less area you cool or heat, the lesser your energy costs
Although many Americans are longtime subscribers of prepaid wireless services, prepaid electricity is relatively new — at least in the U.S. In other countries, most notably South Africa, United Kingdom and Ireland, a large percentage of the population uses prepaid electric service.
More than 75% of South African residents use prepaid electricity and between 15 % of residents in the United Kingdom subscribe to prepaid electricity. The prepaid model is so successful in the United Kingdom that the government has mandated a roll out of smart meters nationwide which will be prepaid compatible.
In contrast, less than 10% of utility companies in the United States offer prepaid electricity. The majority of the service is offered by small utility companies that serve low income communities. The states that lead the way in prepaid electricity are Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, State of Washington and Vermont. Arizona has the oldest prepaid program which was initiated in 1993.
Surveys have been conducted which reflect that prepaid customers are very satisfied with the service and would recommend the service to others. In addition, customers aren’t the only benefactors of the program, as utility companies also benefit as a result of better revenue protection and cash flow. While there may be disadvantages to using the service, the benefits far outweigh any negatives. More people are now realizing the benefits of the service and the use of smart meters is added incentive for more utility companies to adopt this model.
There are quite a few advantages to choosing a month to month plan versus a long term plan. Some of the reasons why getting month to month plan would be a wise option are:
- If your lease expires soon
- If you are selling your house
- If you expect electricity rates to fall or stay at their current level
- If your credit rating is less than stellar and you don’t want to pay a deposit
If you are selling your house or uncertain whether or not you are going to renew your lease, it is best to go with a month to month plan. This is because electricity contracts have early termination fees that you will have to pay if you terminate the service before the contract ends.
Signing a long-term contract right before rates are expected to fall is a recipe for disaster. Customers who were on a month to month plan as rates fell are now reaping the benefits.
Pre-paid electricity or a pay-as-you go plan is one way of evading upfront deposits for electricity if you have a bad credit score. It works out well especially if you do not have the funds to finance a hefty deposit.