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Jan 12, 2024

National Weather Service Update

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Arctic Cold Front Headed For Texas

The National Weather Service is advising that an arctic blast will be descending through the United States this week. While ERCOT is confident that we will not see a repeat of the issues that arose during the February 2021 Winter Storm, many customers will be reminded of how hard their heating systems must work to keep their homes comfortable. Be prepared to see well above average electricity usage for the next several days. You may receive more frequent alerts to add funds to your account during this time.

The Payless Power Customer Service team is often asked about reasons for spikes in usage, or if their rates are increased during extreme weather events (no one likes seeing their electricity bill go up, after all).  We want to take a moment to address some of those frequent comments now.

Facts to consider

1. Payless Power does not read your meter- This is handled by your transmission and distribution utility. They also own the lines, poles, sub-stations and other equipment required to transmit electricity to your home. All retail electric providers receive the same meter data at the same time so these readings would not differ regardless of which retail electric provider you select.

2. Cold weather drastically affects everyone’s usage. The fact is, it is usually much harder and more expensive to heat a home when temperatures are in the 20s and 30s than it is to cool a home when it’s in the high 90s or low 100s. This is because even the best heating/cooling systems cannot regulate temperatures that are more than 28 degrees between the inside and outside. In the summer, it’s usually around 100 and you are trying to cool it to around 75 (a 25-degree delta). In the winter, it’s usually around 35 at night and you are trying to heat it to 75 (a 40-degree delta). Under such conditions the unit will run almost nonstop. Certain things help like great insulation, double paned storm windows etc. but the heater will still run constantly even if you don’t touch the thermostat. Also, it’s coldest over night when you are home while in the summer most people are gone during the day when its hottest.

3. If you have an electric furnace or a 2-stage heat pump and set the thermostat on “emergency” or “auxiliary” heat, the heater will use up to 3 times the amount of electricity as it would if set on the standard “heat” setting. Avoid use the emergency heat setting unless the fan on the outside unit won’t turn on.

4. Many customers suspect that their rates have been raised or their meter isn’t functioning properly if they experience a sharp spike in their daily usage during cold weather. We can confirm that Payless Power has not raised the energy rate for any variable customer during the current weather event. Also, our customers who are a 12-month contract plan have their rate locked in as part of their service agreement. The rise in cost in due to increased usage. Also, while there is always a chance that there could be an issue with the meter, if the meter seems to be working as you expect when the temperatures are mild, it’s probably also functioning properly when the weather gets cold. If you experience lengthy outages due to ice and continue to get billed daily this is typically because the transmission and distribution utility is estimating your reading while the service is out. In such cases you would receive an adjustment for the estimations at the end of your billing cycle.

5. Smartmetertexas.com – Your daily and monthly meter data can be verified by registering your meter free of charge at www.smartmetertexas.com. This is a free site operated by the State of Texas and is not affiliated with Payless Power or your transmission and delivery utility. You can set it to review your daily meter reads in 15-minute increments which will help you pinpoint what is happening at your home to drive up your energy costs. You can also compare the data on the website to what Payless Power has billed you, so you are always sure that you are being billed accurately. To register for www.smartmetertexas.com you will need your ESI-ID and Meter number which can be found in your Payless Power MyAccount Portal.
For energy savings tips visit : https://paylesspower.com/blog/how-to-make-your-home-energy-efficient-in-the-winter/

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