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Summer energy costs put pressure on Texas homeowners

Texas summers can lead to more than sunburns for homeowners as utility costs rise exponentially during July and August, which are typically the hottest months of the year.

Caroline Tinsley Porter, media relations specialist for Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), said Texas residents pay an average of 11.17 cents per Kilowatt hour (kwh), which is below the U.S. average of 13.02 cents per kwh.

Porter said that there are several factors involved when calculating energy costs, which include the capital costs to build power plants, operation costs to operate the plant and the cost of fuel to run the facility.

Another factor is transmission and distribution costs. Those extend to capital costs to build the transmission and distribution lines as well as the operating costs to maintain and operate power lines.

Porter said costs are included for customer services, metering, billing and system operations costs that round out the accumulation of costs associated with a standard energy bill.

“How the costs are determined in any moment will depend on the size and magnitude of the demand and the energy used,” Porter said.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s website, Texas, which is in the West South Central portion of the nation’s energy grid, ranks in the lowest cost bracket in the country. Hawaii has the highest at 29.07 cents per kwh.

“Texas is a summer peaking state, which means Texas uses the most electric energy during the hot summer months,” Porter said. She added the peak energy use month is August.

According to documents provided by Porter, PEC residential rates are highest in July and August, which is when kwh used are at the highest level. Conversely, March, April, May and November are months where less energy is required for heating and cooling.

Porter said residents can reduce their energy costs by switching off lights when not in use or using smart appliances, such as programmable thermostats, to better control temperature during the day and night.

“Most end-user costs are determined by the amount of energy used,” Porter said. “Therefore, by using fewer kwh the total cost will be less.”

PEC offers its customers a Time of Use Rate that allows members to have more control over the price they pay for electricity, she said.

“Rates (energy) in Texas are at historic low levels,” Porter said.

Where does Texas rank in energy usage?

Rankings are out of 50 states. Information via WalletHub.

$283: Avg. monthly energy bill

31st: Price of electricity

9th: Electricity consumption per consumer

28th: Price of natural gas

40th: Natural-gas consumption per consumer

43rd: Price of motor fuel

14th: Motor-fuel consumption per driver

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