Author - Hayden Householder

A meter determining power use and the cost of an Electric Bill

Understanding Your Electric Bill

Understanding Your Electric Bill

Electricity is something that has become a staple in our daily lives. Throughout our day, there are very few things we use that don’t require electricity. This demand for electricity has played a role in determining the cost of power and what we pay on our monthly electric bill. We’re here to help you better understand what exactly goes into the items listed on your monthly electricity bill. 

How is Electricity Measured?

It is essential to understand how companies will measure power on our electric bill to get started. More than likely, your bill will measure electricity in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This measurement is how much power, or watts, is consumed in an hour. The initial number of watts will be divided by 1,000 to give you your kWh. Once your kWh has been determined, you will pay a certain amount per kWh used. The rate that you pay will vary based on your location and power plan.

Delivery and Supply on Your Electric Bill

Now that we know about kWh, we can break down the rest of your electric bill. Typically, your utility company will split a bill into two sections: one for delivery and one for supply.

Delivery Rate

Delivery is the way electricity is transported from the place it is generated to your location. These rates are typically fixed and set by the utility company and help maintain the infrastructure that makes power available. It may not be detailed on your electric bill, but these charges will go towards maintaining power lines, gas pipelines, other electricity infrastructures. Your power company will break down the charges further into individual charges within your delivery rate section. Some of these charges include:

  • Customer Charge – A fixed cost to cover fixed costs of the utility company. These company costs can include administration costs, billing, and serving customers.
  • Distribution Charge – This is the cost to deliver electricity from the source to your location. 
  • Transition Charge – These charges are typically a fixed cost that goes towards costs the company had to pay to meet specific legal requirements. This charge on your electric bill will vary from state to state.
  • Transmission Charge – These charges go towards the cost to deliver power from its generation source to the distribution center. These rates are determined by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissionand not by the company.

Supply Rate

The supply section of your electric bill is based on the charges from your actual energy consumption. Depending on your location and whether or not the state is deregulated, you may or may not have a choice in how your electricity is supplied to you. Each energy supplier can decide their rates for kWh. In deregulated states, you will be able to compare and shop for the best rate for you.

Once your rate is set, it will appear on your bill in kWh. The supply portion of your bill will include this rate and how much energy you used during the period to determine the total for this section of your electric bill.

Pulling Your Electric Bill Together

Your electric bill will pull together both your delivery and supply charges to give you your total for the period. It’s important to remember that your bill could vary month to month depending on your supplier and the demand throughout the year. At Astral Energy, we get rid of the guesswork on your electric bill. We create a custom plan based on your energy needs that won’t change no matter how much energy you use! Contact us today to find out how you can start enjoying power without limits.

A lightbulb made of daisies to symbolize spring energy

4 Spring Energy Saving Tips

4 Spring Energy Saving Tips

As spring starts to roll in, flowers are blooming, and people will begin to think about spring cleaning. This time of year is also great to start getting your home ready for summer by starting new spring energy habits. We’ve got four tips you can start using this spring before energy use starts going up in the summer.

Use Your Windows

Spring is one of the best times of year to pull up the shades, crack open a window, and enjoy the fresh air. Your windows can make all the difference in your spring energy use. Sunlight can be one of the most effective ways to heat your home, which can lower your energy bill if you live in colder areas. If you live in an area with a warmer spring, investing in window coverings will be important to keeping your home cool. 

If you choose to leave your windows open, consider turning off your HVAC system or adjusting the temperature. Leaving your system on while a window is open will more than likely cause the system to keep running, increasing your energy use and the bill.

Fire Up the Grill

An oven can be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to heating your home. This may not be an issue during the winter, but as the weather starts to warm up, it’s another story. Instead of raising the temperature in your home, take your food outside and cook on the grill. Cooking outside will prevent your home from heating up, so your air conditioning won’t have to run to cool it down. If you don’t have a grill, other optionsare available to keep your home cool and keep your spring energy use down. Smaller cooking appliances like slow cookers or griddles will produce less heat but still effectively cook your meal.

Use Your Ceiling Fans

As your home starts to heat from the season change naturally, fans will be key to keeping your spring energy use down. Through ceiling fans, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort to save on your energy bill. While your ceiling fans are running, you can raise your thermostat's temperature by four degrees without feeling the temperature difference. Just remember to turn the fans off when you leave the room to make the most of saving energy.

Did you know that ceiling fans can also be used to heat your home? Running your ceiling fan counterclockwise on the medium or high setting will cool you off, but when run clockwise on a low setting, it can circulate the heat. As heat naturally rises, running your fan on a low setting will help push the warm air away from the ceiling to the rest of the room. 

Use Your Bathroom Fans

Your bathroom fan is probably at the bottom of the list of fans you would think about to help cool your home. The truth is, though, removing warm air is one of their main purposes. As much as a warm bath or shower is nice in the moment, the heat from the steam can kick your AC on, especially if the thermostat is close to the bathroom. To save on your spring energy use, try turning the fan on while you shower. This will not only remove the heat but has the added benefit of removing the moisture too. Getting rid of the moisture will help protect the integrity of your bathroom fixtures and prevent mold from growing. Just remember to turn the fan off when you’re done.

Astral Energy is the Go-to for Spring Energy

No matter the season, Astral Energy is here to help keep your energy bill in check. Our Ultimate Power Planis customized to you based on your previous energy use. So, whether it’s summer, fall, winter, or spring, your energy costs will stay the same. What’s the best part? It’s your power, without limits. Use as much as you want without worrying about your bill going up. Contact us today to learn more about how Astral can help you get the energy you need!

A light bulb with a dollar sign filament to show saving on an energy bill

10 Tips to Save Money on Your Energy Bill

10 Tips to Save Money on Your Energy Bill

Paying our bills at the end of the month is often something we dread doing, but it doesn’t have to be. There are all kinds of ways that someone can save money on their home energy bill. Check out our 10 tips to help you save money on your energy bill.

Adjust Your Thermostat

As much as we like to keep our living space as comfortable as possible, constantly running the air conditioning or heater to achieve the perfect temperature uses a lot of energy. Dialing the thermostat back 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day can save as much as 10% a year. Installing a programmable thermostat can take the hassle out of remembering to adjust your temperature while still helping you save on your energy bill.

Seal Your House

Keeping a tight seal around the doors and windows of your home is essential to keeping the warm or cold air from seeping out. Ensuring that your home is well insulated will help keep your air conditioning from constantly running to keep it at the selected temperature. Caulking or weatherproofing openings are simple DIY solutions that anyone can do to seal their home. 

Take Advantage of Sun or Shade

Whether you want your home warmer or cooler, there are some cost-free resources that you can use for any season. If your living space has curtains or shades, you can open or close them to limit how much sun enters your windows. Depending on where you live and the positioning of your home, the sun could heat your house a few degrees every day during peak hours. Blocking the sun with shades or even trees during those peak times can make a difference in keeping your home cool.

Switch to LED

According to the US Department of energy, LED lightbulbs use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than their incandescent counterparts. Not only does this mean that you’ll save money on your energy use, but you could save money from buying bulbs less often. There are all kinds of LED bulbs to meet your needs. Just make sure to check the “Lighting Facts” label to match the brightness and color to the location.

Install Dimmer Switches

These specialized switches let you control how bright your lights are in any room. Not only do these switches let you set the mood for each of your rooms, but they can also help you save energy by keeping the lights on a dimmer setting at different times. 

Consider Motion Sensors

It goes without saying that if your lights are off, they won’t be hurting your energy bill. If you’re someone that may forget to turn off your lights here and there, investing in motion detectors could make a huge difference in your energy bill. These sensors will track when there is or isn’t movement in a room in order to power the lights. Gone are the days of accidentally leaving a light on with motion sensors!

Maintain Your Dryer

Energy-efficient appliances are made to help conserve energy use. If you already have this kind of washer or dryer or don’t want to purchase a new appliance, there are still things you can do to save on your energy bill. Dryers use approximately 6% of a home’s total electricity, according to the California Energy Commission. By keeping your dryer clean and emptying the lint trap, you can keep the appliance running efficiently.

Wash with Cold Water

Consumer Reports have explained that heating water accounts for approximately 90% of the energy needed to run a washer. Due to this, washers and even laundry detergents have adapted to actually work better with cooler water. These studies have now shown that not only does using cold water help you save on your energy bills, but it can also get your clothes cleaner.

Keep the Oven Closed

As tempting as it may be to open the oven door a few times to check on your cooking food, it’s actually better to use the light and look through the glass. The US Department of Energy has said that the oven’s internal temperature can drop 25 degrees every time the door opens. Not only does this mean that the heat escapes into your home, but also that the oven then has to heat back up again. Leaving the door closed will help to retain the heat and keep your food cooking for you.

Conduct an Energy Audit

Running an energy audit is the best way to determine just how much energy your home is using. Oftentimes, utility providers will even provide these services for free. The US Department of Energy has stated that an energy audit can help a home save 5-30% on an energy bill.

There are all kinds of options to help save money on energy bills. At Astral Energy, we work with you to determine a flat monthly fee based on your previous energy use. You get the unlimited energy that you want without having to worry about your energy bill going up. Contact us today to learn more about how you can get the most from your energy!

A map of deregulated energy use in the United States

Deregulated Energy: Everything You Need to Know

Deregulated Energy

Understanding the energy that powers our living spaces might not be something that we think about often. Even though getting in-depth with energy may seem complicated, we’re here to make understanding deregulated energy a little easier. To better understand the topic, we’re diving into a bit of the history of energy regulation, how deregulation works, and how it can benefit you.

A Brief History of Energy Regulation

Like many industries, energy has seen its ups and downs in the United States throughout the years. Energy utilities in the U.S. originally started without regulation, and there was competition among power companies that kept prices down. This competition spurred growth and development in the industry. Unfortunately, due to the rapid growth, there was a negative effect on the infrastructure. With so many companies developing, there were different processes and standards for delivering energy, which left energy users with poor service.

The Government Steps In

Due to the inconsistencies in service, the U.S. government stepped in a few times to respond to the situation. In 1935, the Public Utility Holding Company Act was passed to prevent utility companies from subsidizing unregulated business activities from profits obtained from their regulated business activities and captive customers. 

Later, in 1986, the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) was founded to split the U.S. into ten energy regions. Although NERC was effective at improving the reliability of energy delivery, like it was intended to, it also allowed for local energy monopolies to pop up. These monopolies would often overcharge energy users who had to foot the cost of any expansion projects initiated by these companies.

Due to these companies' financial instability from expansion projects, many were on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1977, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was created. After its founding, FERC, along with the Energy Policy Act of 1992, made a move to deregulate the energy industry and let individual states decide how energy was supplied to users. As a result, competition was once again introduced to the energy industry, and deregulation began across states.

Deregulated Energy States

As states began to decide how to distribute energy to their citizens, several chose deregulated energy. This option gave energy users the choice of who provides their energy, while utility companies still own the delivery infrastructure. Even though a majority of states still regulate their energy, many have moved to deregulation for either gas, electric, or both, including:

Chart of Energy Deregulation available by state

How Deregulated Energy Works

If you are in a state that offers deregulated energy, it means you have the option to choose who your energy supplier is. An energy supplier will purchase energy from the utility companies and then sell their energy supply to consumers. Consumers will still receive their energy from the utility companies’ infrastructure. This process gives consumers more control over the rate they pay for energy while still receiving the same service quality.

Benefits of Deregulated Energy

Energy deregulation offers a variety of benefits to both companies and consumers. Most notable is the ability for energy users to choose an energy supplier and plan that suits their needs or budget. Other benefits include:

  • Corporate Competition – As can choose, companies can offer specific rates and services to attract customers.
  • Energy Consciousness – Customers are encouraged to understand different energy costs by investigating different companies and their plans.
  • Energy Efficiency – Energy practices can play a role in consumers choosing a company. This method for selection, in turn, motivates companies to be more energy efficient.

At Astral Energy, we’re proud to offer our Ultimate Power Plan as an option for energy consumers. With our plan, you will receive all the energy you can use at a flat monthly fee that won’t change throughout the year. Request a quote to find out your price today!