Alliance for Retail Markets Offers Summer Electricity Tips To Retail Electric Consumers In Texas

July 11, 2008

With high temperatures here, the Alliance for Retail Markets (ARM), a leading advocacy group for retail electric competition in Texas, wants Texans to get the most out of their electricity usage this summer.

Increased demand for electricity during hot summer months, coupled with rising commodity prices worldwide, have seen electricity prices across the Unites States go up — and the same holds true for Texas. As consumers in Texas look to capitalize on electricity choices and options, ARM offers a series of low-cost tips to help consumers get the most out of electricity usage this summer.

According to data from the Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity has gone up nearly 25 percent nationwide since 2000. The EPA states that the typical U.S. family spends more than $1,900 a year on energy bills, a large portion of which is wasted.

Five tips and suggestions to optimize electricity usage include:

1) Set your thermostat properly: Set thermostat at 78 degrees when home, and 85 degrees when away or sleeping. Use a programmable thermostat to automatically set temperature ranges for different times of the day.

2) Use compact fluorescent bulbs: Compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, use about 75 percent less energy and last about ten times longer than standard bulbs. Additionally, CFLs cost about $30 less per bulb over the lifetime of the bulb. That’s $300 in savings for ten bulbs.

3) Turn off home electronics when not in use: Appliances and home electronics are responsible for approximately 20 percent of an average household’s electric bill. Home electronics that operate in standby mode, such as most modern TVs, DVD players and such, consume about 75 percent of their electricity when in standby mode.

4) Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes: 20 percent of energy used in the typical home is to run electronics and appliances, and up to 90 percent of the cost of washing clothes comes from heating the water.

5) Shop around for electricity: Take advantage of the choices and options available in Texas’ competitive electricity markets. The best way for consumers to protect themselves is to take advantage of the competitive market in those areas of the State in which consumers can choose a retail electric provider. Individuals and families that live in one of those areas can shop around for the best deal that fits both budget and lifestyle. The retail electric market in Texas offers choices from nearly 20 different residential retail electric providers and 40 different options and plans, including numerous renewable energy options.

In addition to these low-cost solutions, other suggestions include: purchasing Energy Star appliances, installing proper insulation, and ensuring regular maintenance of a home’s air conditioning system. For more tips and information, visit: http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/electricity/index.cfm /mytopic=11140 (Due to its length, this URL may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser’s address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.)

“The members of ARM are all looking for ways to provide the best electricity options and advice for consumers this summer and beyond,” said Steve Davis, president of the Alliance for Retail Markets. “There are many areas that affect our day-to-day lives in which high commodity prices are beyond our control – electricity is not one of them. With the many retail choices available to consumers in areas in which you can choose your electric provider, in addition to easy-to-implement cost-savings tips and suggestions, reducing the cost of an electricity bill might be one of the few areas in which we still have some degree of control.”

The core belief of ARM is that fair and open competitive electricity markets produce the best prices, products and services for consumers. ARM, first and foremost, supports the ability of all electricity customers to choose their provider of retail electric service. Necessary to a fair competitive retail electricity market, ARM also supports a competitive wholesale electricity market and a robust transmission and distribution system that maintains open non-discriminatory access to all transmission users.

Current members include: ConEd Solutions, Constellation NewEnergy, Direct Energy, Gexa Energy, Green Mountain Energy Company, Integrys Energy Services of Texas, Liberty Power, Sempra Energy Solutions LLC, Strategic Energy, Stream Energy, and SUEZ Energy Resources NA, Inc.

About The Alliance for Retail Markets

Founded in 2001, ARM is a member-driven advocacy organization of retail electric providers that advances competitive retail electricity markets in Texas. Members include ConEd Solutions, Constellation NewEnergy, Direct Energy, Gexa Energy, Green Mountain Energy Company, Integrys Energy Services of Texas, Liberty Power, Sempra Energy Solutions LLC, Strategic Energy, Stream Energy, and SUEZ Energy Resources NA, Inc. For more information, visit: www.allianceforretailmarkets.com

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