In the past few days, the people of Texas have shown incredible levels of courage and hope in the face of dire circumstances. Like you, we’re closely watching for updates from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and local Transmission and Distribution Service Providers (TDSP) as power is restored to more areas.
As we look to recover from what has shaken Texas over the past few days, we’re committed to providing some helpful information and support. Together, we can navigate the aftermath of the storm.
First things first: We aren’t going anywhere.
When you sign up for electricity with us, you choose how the electricity you buy is generated, but not how it is delivered. Your local TDSP owns and maintains the poles and wires that deliver electricity to your home. They are also the ones who handle meter issues and restore service outages.
While many Texans have had power restored, there are still some without it. If you’re still experiencing an outage, you can report and track current outages by contacting your local TDSP.
When your local TDSP is able to restore power to your home, we’ll be right there with you for the long haul.
You’re protected from wholesale power price spikes.
You may have seen media reports in recent days about the staggering costs of electricity. Rest assured, we will continue to serve and honor our existing prices and contracts. You’re current residential fixed-price or month-to-month plan is not tied to real-time market prices, so you’re protected from price swings that occur with wholesale power.
Our doors are open, and we aren’t at risk of going out of business or having any of our customers rolled onto a Provider of Last Resort (POLR).
Your water may be impacted. Check with your city for updates.
Most of Texas is under a boil advisory due to low water pressure. If you have running water, make sure to boil it for three minutes before drinking it or cooking with it. If you don’t have a way to boil water, use bottled water for consumption.
While it looks like the worst of the weather is behind us, many areas are still experiencing freezing temperatures. In order to prevent damage to your pipes while the weather persists, make sure to keep all exposed pipes wrapped, turn off the water supply to your home and open all of your taps to completely drain your pipes. Fill a bathtub or other vessels with water before you turn off your supply, so you have water to boil and to use for the toilet.
If you’re in an area where temperatures are above freezing, you’re asked to stop maintaining a drip or a stream in your faucets and to conserve water as much as possible. Make sure to check your home for leaks or other pipe damage before you turn the water back on. If you find a leak, shut the water off immediately.
If you’re having trouble with your bill, we can help.
This winter storm has placed some unexpected financial hardships on many Texans. If you feel like the extra strain has put you at risk of being unable to pay your electricity bill, contact us as soon as you can to discuss potential payment options.
Try these tips to help the recovery process.
For customers who do have power, we’re asking you to consider your fellow Texans who are still without. By following a few conservation and safety tips, we can all lessen the load on the grid and help more of our neighbors get their power back.
Ramp up slowly. As you regain power, gradually plug in and turn on only essentials to lower your impact on the electric grid.
Avoid using all large appliances. This includes washing machines and dishwashers.
Know where your shut-off valve is. After power has been restored, and your home begins warming up, any cracked pipes could flood your home. Turn water off at the main valve, which is usually located under a lid by your curb.
When in doubt, throw it out. Discard perishable food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more.
Consult your doctor. Certain medications need to be kept cold. If you lost power, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking them.
Don’t have power yet? Report your outage to your TDSP. Also, prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by only using generators, charcoal grills, and fossil fuels outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
Help is available. For shelters, warming centers or community assistance programs, call 311 (Houston residents) or 211 (elsewhere in Texas).
There’s still support for you.
Texas, as we begin to recover from recent extreme temperatures, we want you to know that we’re committed to your wellbeing. We’ll do everything in our power to keep you up-to-date and current as information unfolds. You can contact us with any questions and concerns you may have. And remember, we’re committed to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How could my home consume so much electricity if my power was out for a couple of days?A: If you use electricity to heat your home and water, energy usage can be very high during extremely cold weather, even if outages occur.
If your power was out for an extended period of time, when power was restored, your home may have struggled to warm back up, causing your electric furnace to run continuously.
Even without a power interruption, electric furnaces in winter can consume 3-to-4 times the energy than a comparable Air Conditioner consumes in summer.
Similarly, if you have an electric water heater, it can potentially use lots of extra energy to heat water during extreme cold.
Q: I did nothing different than last year, why is my usage higher?A: Weather impacts a home’s energy usage more than any other external factor. If the weather is colder, a home is likely to consume more energy. Especially when we experience record-setting low temperatures for several days in a row.
Q: My home doesn’t have central heat – how could it have used so much electricity?A: Space heaters can consume 1500 watts per hour or more. If, for example, you have 3 or 4 space heaters running 24 hours a day for a few days of extreme cold, usage adds up quickly. 1500 watts x 4 heaters = 144,000 watts per day or 144 Kwhs.
Along with space heaters, if you have an electric water heater, it can consume a great deal of extra energy during extreme cold. Especially if your water heater is located in the attic or outside of the heated space.
Other electric systems, like pool pumps and hot tubs, can work overtime during extreme weather, leading to greater energy consumption.
Q: Are there simple ways I can reduce my winter energy usage?A: Setting the thermostat too high during a cold snap leads to more energy usage. Every degree your thermostat is set above 68 may increase heating costs by 3 to 5 percent. If you notice your home isn’t heating evenly and your furnace is running all day, your unit might need service, or you may need extra insulation. Contact a professional for help with repairs. More energy-saving tips › (this will link to the “Tips to reduce your energy usage” section that is on the page. Additionally, we will add a link to the Winter Bill Tips page from this section)