Learning About Electricity Companies and Costs

Learning About Electricity Companies and Costs

by | Educational, Energy Savings

We can easily take for granted that flicking on a light switch will illuminate a dark room. Electricity has become such an integral part of everyday life that it has become second nature to people everywhere — every country in the world has access to electricity in major cities and often in rural areas.  

But where does all this electricity come from? And how is it delivered to people in their homes?
Read on to learn about electricity companies and costs associated with keeping your household appliances and handheld gadgets running.  

What Are Electricity Companies? 

Electric companies are energy companies that provide electricity to home and business customers. They are essentially power providers in the energy services sector. Even with deregulation in markets outside of TX, there is still a public utility. Customers can choose to remain with utility or choose a provider. 

Who Provides My Electricity? 

Your energy provider depends largely on where you live and who you choose for your electricity needs (if there are multiple options available in your area).  

 The United States has several large, interconnected grids that generate electricity for the entire country. From these grids, retail electricity providers supply the electricity to customers in homes and businesses.  

 Tara Energy is a leading retail energy provider to many Americans with one of the best electricity plans for people in residential areas. However, there are many other electricity companies across the country. 

How To Find Out What Electricity Company You Are With 

It’s fairly simple to find out which electric provider supplies your residential electricity, which is useful if you have recently moved to a new property.  

 If you’re looking to find the electricity company that is providing services to your home, there are two ways to go about this. If you receive paper mail, you can check your most recent electric bill. The name of the company will be displayed on several areas of the bill, including on the envelope. This comes in handy if you have moved into a new place and the most recent electricity bill is not addressed to you.  

 If you do not receive paper bills or simply want to find your provider while at your computer or on your phone, you can look up the local electricity provider to your municipality. This is publicly available with a basic internet search.  

 If you are in an area that has a deregulated market, you may need to call the local energy market helpline and give your address to find out your current electric provider. You can easily find this number with a basic internet search as well.  

How To Get Electricity Turned On The Same Day 

For most electric utility companies, it takes around three business days to complete a standard service installation order. However, you can request for service to begin on the same day, which is usually granted if you’re transferring to a new location. This is known as a Same Day Turn-On service, and you will likely be charged a one-time, upfront fee on your first electricity bill. 

 Typically, with Same Day Turn-On, the service will be set up within 24 hours as long as all the appropriate fees are paid, including deposits. Conversely, it’s rare to be able to end service on the same day as a request. That usually takes the standard three days. You may also be charged an early termination fee if you’re not transferring to another location. 

Where Does Electricity Come From in the United States? 

Electricity | Where it Comes From and It's Origins - Electric Company worker imagesource

 When it comes to electricity generation, the United States has a lot of sources in the mix. The energy market comprises various electricity generation sources that are put into this mix, which is then delivered to customers by the retail companies. 

 According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, most electricity in the United States comes from natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy, with an increasing amount of renewable energy sources such as hydropower, wind, geothermal, and solar power.  

 Each state gets its electricity from different sources and from different providers, though some states share or receive electricity from out-of-state providers.  

Where Does California Get Its Electricity? 

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California is known as one of the “greener” states in the U.S., with an emphasis on decreasing carbon emissions. However, with such a large landmass and the highest population out of any state in the country, it also has the highest electricity demand, particularly in Southern California. 

 Due to this demand, California imports nearly a third of its electricity, which is more than any other state. This is mainly in the form of renewables from states in the Pacific Northwest and nuclear, coal, and natural gas generation from Southwestern states. 

California has a deregulated market, with Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs), Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs), Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs), Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs), and Electric Service Providers (ESPs) all contributing to getting Californians their electricity.  

Where Does New York Get Its Electricity? 

New York gets about 90% of its electricity from natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. Of these, natural gas and nuclear are the largest generation sources within the state. Hydropower is imported mainly from north of the border in Canada. More electricity is also imported from Pennsylvania, which is also sent to Maryland, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Each of these states also imports hydropower electricity from Canada. 

 Since the 1990s, New York has had a deregulated electricity market, which means customers can choose from several providers for their energy needs.

Where Does Illinois Get Its Electricity?  

Illinois generates and uses more electricity from nuclear power than any other state — in fact, nearly 20% of the nation’s total nuclear power generation comes from Illinois. 

 Electricity was also deregulated in the 1990s for Illinois, paving the way for numerous ESPs to enter the mix. Some of these retail electricity companies include Just Energy, Direct Energy, Spark Energy, Constellation, Champion Energy Services, and Oasis Energy. 

Where Does Texas Get Its Electricity? 

Everything is bigger in Texas — and that remains true when it comes to electricity.   

Texas is the largest energy-producing and energy-consuming state in the country, with a large industrial sector and relatively high population, thanks to cities such as Dallas and Houston. But the state also generates nearly twice as much electricity as Florida, which produces the second-most in the nation.  

Electricity is generated on many of the typical forms in Texas, with natural gas being the leading source of power. However, green energy has grown by quite a bit in recent years, mainly in the form of wind. Texas leads the country in wind generation, producing nearly one-third of all wind-powered electricity in the U.S. last year.  

In true Lone Star fashion, the Texas electricity market is unlike any other in the country. Texas is the only state where the electric grid is fully deregulated, which has created an incredible array of ESPs and energy collectives across the state.  

Tara Energy is a proud supplier of reliable and economical electricity to all Texans, with other companies such as Just Energy, Amigo Energy, TXU Energy, Gexa Energy, First Choice Power, Oncor, Payless Power, Pulse Power TriEagle Energy (Cirro) all part of the largest deregulated market in the U.S.  

Where Do the Rest of the States Get Their Electricity? 

All 50 states get the majority of their electricity from five different generation sources. The breakdown is covered below.   

Coal  

Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia 

Hydroelectric 

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, South Dakota, Maine, New Hampshire 

Natural Gas 

Alaska, California, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island 

Nuclear 

Arizona, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Vermont 

Petroleum 

Hawaii 

Where Do I Find My Prepaid Electricity Meter Number? 

Your meter number is found on the electricity meter that is assigned to each home or separate living unit in a condo or apartment complex. The number, which is your unique identifier for determining how much electricity you’ve used each month, is usually stamped or printed at the bottom of the face plate in bold black numerals and can be up to ten digits in length. 

Where To Find Your Electricity Meter 

If you live in a condo or an apartment you might find your meter on the ground floor. Each meter should be labeled with the corresponding apartment. If not, you’ll need to contact your landlord who can tell you where it is. Otherwise, if you have an electricity bill, you can match the meter serial number to the front of the meter 

Can You Get Electricity With Bad Credit? 

Yes, you are legally entitled to get electricity even with bad credit. However, there will be added charges and upfront costs if your credit score is less than ideal. 

All utility companies, including electricity providers, are allowed to request a deposit if you have a low credit score, or if a previous utility account was sent to a collection agency. Providers may also require a deposit even with a good credit score and no prior delinquency payments.  

 Some companies may ask for a guarantee that someone will take over your payments if you fail to do so, which is similar to having a co-signer on a home loan. 

The Cost of Electricity 

Electricity Costs and Pricing | Understanding How it Comes from Electric Companies - power imagesource

Electricity rates and pricing depend on several factors. On top of your location, which cannot be changed, there are different rate plans and ESPs that offer different average prices, at either fixed rates or variable rates. You can also affect your energy rates and lower your electricity bill by maximizing energy efficiency with specially-designed products or altering your habits.  

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How Much Does Electricity Cost Per Unit? 

Electricity is measured in kilowatt hours or kWh. The average American pays about 12 cents per kWh across the country, though this varies by several cents in either direction depending where you live. The cost of electricity varies depending on several factors, such as access to interconnected grids and generation sources. Hawaii, an island with no access to a national grid, typically leads the nation in paying the most at around 34 cents per kWh. On the lower end, Washington state, with its abundance of renewable hydroelectricity pays the least at around 9 cents per kWh.  

How Much Does Electricity Cost Per Month? 

Your energy bill each month will reflect several factors: how much you use your energy-consuming products, how energy-efficient your products are, and whether you have a low rate on your electric plan. 

 Last year, the annual electricity consumption for the average American was 10,649 kWh per person, which is about 877 kWh per month. This averages out to about $105.25 per month in electricity costs, which is not far from the average estimate of $111 put out by the EIA in 2017. 

Is Electricity Cheaper At Night? 

Yes, electricity is often cheaper at night. Demand is lower at this time, which brings the price down per kWh used. If you want to capitalize on energy savings, this is the time to plug in those energy-intensive devices, such as electric cars. 

What Is the Cheapest Time of Day to Use Electricity?  

The cheapest electric rates are usually late at night and very early in the morning when demand is typically lowest. If you’re looking to save money on electricity, consider using or charging your devices around these times. 

What Uses The Most Electricity In a House? 

This varies from person to person, and is affected by region — but heating and cooling use the most electricity in a typical American household. Other energy-intensive devices include water heaters and washers and dryers.  

Is Gas Cheaper Than Electricity? 

If an appliance can run on natural gas rather than electricity, it is almost always cheaper to run the appliance on natural gas. Some major appliances that can run on either electricity or gas include ovens, stoves, dryers, grills, thermostats, and fireplaces.  

Why Is Electricity More Expensive Than Gas? 

Electricity costs more simply because electric utilities are more expensive than providing natural gas directly from the source. It typically costs more to run and operate a power station and then distribute to customers over transmission lines than to provide natural gas as an unprocessed resource. If your house is set up for gas appliances, it can save you up to 30% on utility bills. 

Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Electricity and Electricity Companies? 

Hopefully this guide covers everything you need to know about where electricity comes from and how it’s provided to your home. The next time there’s a power outage, remember how intricately woven and complex the connected grids are across the United States. Also, take advantage of those deregulated markets to ensure you’re getting the best price — and the best service — for your electrical utilities.  

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