DALLAS – An early and record-breaking start to winter spurred unprecedented demand for electricity and drove bills higher for millions of consumers and businesses around the state. With more than a month left in the season, TXU Energy is reminding consumers how to deal with higher-than-anticipated electricity bills and is recommending strategies to cut back while staying comfortable.
“Extremely cold temperatures have forced customer’s heating equipment to run longer and harder this winter,” said Jeff Camp, vice president of customer operations at TXU Energy. “As a result, most consumers are using more electricity even if they aren’t raising their thermostat settings.”
TXU Energy offers a number of programs and resources to help customers deal with the financial impacts of high usage, including payment plans, bill deferrals and average monthly billing.
“For customers facing a bill they will have challenges paying on time, the first thing to do is to contact us before the due date,” Camp said. “That gives us the best opportunity to provide assistance and helps customers avoid added costs related to late payments and disconnection.”
The company’s nationally recognized TXU Energy AidSM program has provided $84 million in bill-payment assistance to more than 450,000 customers since its inception in 1983. Customers facing financial crisis can access the program through the 211-telephone assistance network.
“For all customers, it’s important to remember that the best way to reduce their bill is to conserve electricity,” Camp added. “That can be difficult during extreme weather because of the tremendous amount of work heating and cooling systems must do to bridge the gap between extreme outdoor temperatures and comfortable indoor settings.”
During extreme cold temperatures, TXU Energy advises:
- Lowering thermostats at least a couple of degrees and more when no one is home. It takes more energy to reach and maintain a higher setting when it is extremely cold outside.
- Keeping blinds and window coverings closed to keep out cold air and maintain heated air.
- Increasing comfort by running ceiling fans on low speeds in a clockwise direction. Do not run fans or leave on lights in unoccupied rooms.
- Closing vents in unoccupied rooms and ensuring that chimney dampers are closed.
- Lowering water heater temperatures to 120 degrees, and installing water heater insulation.
All year, consumers can manage usage by:
- Replacing heating and air conditioning filters at least once every three months.
- Ensuring that door and window seals are working.
- Using power strips and timers to prevent TVs, gaming systems and other electronics from using electricity even in the off position.
- Unplugging device chargers when they are not in use.
- Cleaning refrigerator coils and dryer vents.
- Maintaining appliances.
- Using the smallest cooking appliances possible, such as microwaves, slow cookers and toast ovens.
“TXU Energy is here to help our customers,” Camp said. “We have 24-hour assistance through our contact center agents, a dedicated team to respond to customers through social media, and pricing and products teams that constantly develop new plans and products that help customers manage their individual needs. Our online tips and how-to videos deliver even more value as they guide customers through the steps they want to take to control their usage and spending.”
In addition to all of those resources, TXU Energy continues to advise consumers against variable rate plans, which allow retail electricity providers to change customers’ energy rates when they want, as high as they want and as often as they want. Even if consumers didn’t sign up for a variable rate plan, their provider may have switched them to a variable rate plan when their original term expired. TXU Energy does not sell variable rate plans and does not move customers to variable rate plans when their fixed-term plans end.
Tips and How-to videos for savings opportunities
Additional Document(s): Frequently Asked Questions about High Bills
About TXU Energy
TXU Energy is a market-leading competitive retail electricity provider, powering the lives of more Texans than any other retailer. TXU Energy offers a variety of innovative products and solutions, allowing both its residential and business customers to choose options that best meet their needs, including exceptional customer service, competitively priced electricity service plans, innovative energy efficiency options, renewable energy programs and other electricity-related products and services. Visit txu.com for more information about TXU Energy. REP #10004