NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - With extreme temperatures forecasted this week, you may be tempted to crank up the A/C, but electricity bills in Texas are skyrocketing right now.
Texans know prices typically go up in the summer when we use more energy to keep our homes cool, but experts say this surge goes beyond that.
"Currently we've seen almost double, if not triple, what people have seen," said Maria Estrada, vice president of operations at Energy Ogre. "People coming out of really, really great contracts are facing the doubles and triples on the new contracts."
At the root of the increase is the natural gas market. Prices have spiked since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
"Natural gas prices have been skyrocketing," Estrada said.
Experts typically don't recommend switching energy plans in the middle of the summer, since this is when companies tend to raise prices.
However, if you're locked into a bad contract, it may be worth trying to shop around for a cheaper plan. Simply calling your current provider and asking for a lower rate could work to.
In the meantime, the best way to save is to do things around your home to conserve energy.
"The most important one, maintain your A/C," she said. "That will always be the best bet, making sure it's running efficiently, the coils are clean."
According to the Department of Energy, you can lower your energy consumption by up to 15% by replacing a dirty air filter with a clean one.
Some other ways to lower your electricity bill:
- Bump the thermostat up. Even a few degrees will make a difference.
- During the day, keep the blinds shut, facing up and close your drapes.
- Unplug devices and appliances when you're not using them.
- Avoid running your washer, dryer or dishwasher during peak hours, since companies tend to charge more when demand is the highest.
"Whenever it gets really, really hot during the day, we want to not consume as much electricity as well just because it's going to work a lot harder to get those usages and being able to cover what we are needing," said Estrada. "So washing machines, anything like that -- super, super early in the morning or super late at night will always be your best bet."
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