Feeling the Love/Hate for Summer
In Central Texas, many of us share a love/hate relationship with summer. There’s so much to love about this time of year: warm temperatures, sunshine, family vacations, lounging at poolside (or seaside), school-free days and much more. Then there’s the not-so-lovable stuff: oppressive, pant-inducing heat and humidity; sunburns; bugs, bugs and more bugs; and, of course, higher electricity bills.
If you’re wondering why those summer bills get so high, it all starts with your air conditioner. Although this powerful appliance may transform your living space into an oasis-of-chill during the dog days of summer, it’s also your home’s single most expensive appliance in terms of energy consumption.
Everybody’s Doing It
Although your AC is a prime generator of high summer bills, it isn’t the only cause. Another reason summer bills get higher is that, as the weather gets hotter, people tend to stay home more often where it’s cool. This means running the AC even more, while using various other appliances more often, too.
Additionally, all over Texas, students come home from school and college. They not only turn down the AC, but also leave the lights on, spend more time on electronic devices, constantly open and close the refrigerator door, do more laundry, and continually run in and out of the house. All this activity, coupled with nonstop AC use, has a pronounced effect on the average summer electric bill.
The Tools to Save
Rush Hour Rewards is a demand response program we’ve developed in conjunction with Nest Thermostats. We designed Rush Hour Rewards to help combat high usage rates during peak demand intervals in the months of June through September. The more GVEC can decrease its electricity transmission during peak times, the lower the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) will set our annual usage rates. All you need to participate is a Nest Thermostat. If you don’t have one, call GVEC Home at 800.328.0630 and we’ll not only help you find the right model for your system, but we’ll install it, too!
Log into the ‘Hub’
SmartHub is an online energy management tool designed to allow Cooperative members to take greater control of their power usage, thereby reducing and minimizing electric bills. With SmartHub, you can:
- View your energy usage with Usage Explorer: Usage Explorer is one of SmartHub’s most powerful tools, providing detailed insights into your past and current electricity usage. Use this feature to spot patterns regarding how and when you use the most electricity and to make informed changes in your usage habits. After logging into your account, you can track your electricity use by year, month, day and even by hour, all displayed in easy-to-understand graphs. You can even opt to see daily temperature information on the graphs or you can view a summary of this information below the main screen, along with summaries of peak usage, lowest usage, average usage and total kWh.
- View your bill/payment history: With this feature, you can review your billing/payment history, comparing bills and usage patterns over time.
- View and pay your bill: This convenient feature allows you to save time and money by paying monthly charges with a few mouse clicks.
- Sign up for auto-pay: This feature makes it easier to pay your bill on time every month.
- Set notifications: Even if you sign up for auto-pay, you’ll probably still want to know what’s due, when and for how much. SmartHub’s notification feature will help you stay on top of things.
- Report an outage: Got an outage at your home or business? Report it through SmartHub.
- View the status of an outage: SmartHub allows you not only to report a power outage, but to also view status updates regarding resolution of the problem.
- Change your personal information: Need to update your billing address, contact information or payment information? Maybe you’d like to stop or start receiving printed bills in the mail? You can do all this in SmartHub.
- Easily contact us: SmartHub makes it quick and easy to send us a message any time of day.
With Rush Hour Rewards and SmartHub, you can take greater control of your own energy use and thereby sacrifice a little less cash to chill down your summer.