There is no denying that the cost of electricity is on the rise. In 2022 Texans are paying 50-70% more than they were paying last year. But why? Why has the cost of electricity gone up so much? Why are so many people asking, “Why is my electric bill so high?” Many factors contribute to an increase in energy costs. Historically, Texans have paid less than other states to keep the lights on. This is because Texas is the top natural gas producing state in the United States.
Contributing factor #1 for paying more for electricity
Unfortunately, natural gas costs have shot up more than 200% since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022 (Russia is a top gas-producing country). Texas has stepped up our game. Texas is exporting more natural gas than before to Europe, allowing countries to wean themselves off Russian gas. With Texas exporting more natural gas, there is less available for Texans to use. The increase in demand and the limited availability equals an increase in cost.
Contributing factor #2 for why your electric bill is on the rise
July 2022 was the hottest July in recorded history for Texas. The weather affects the cost of electricity, and in this case is why you are paying more for electricity. Extreme heat, like extreme cold, puts higher demands on the power grid. Even without the spike in the actual cost of electricity, Texans usually end up seeing higher bills because they consume more energy. It takes more electricity for you to maintain 72 degrees inside when it is 102 outside than when it is 80 outside. To help curb your overall electricity usage, you can make small changes that have the potential to make a huge difference in what you are paying. Instead of trying to maintain 72 degrees, increase your thermostat by 2 or 3 degrees and take some pressure off your AC unit, and the Texas Power Grid.
Contributing factor #3 for higher energy cost
We are sure you can still remember February 2021 when winter storm Uri caused havoc across Texas. You may not have known it, but Uri is still changing how Texans receive power and what we are paying to keep the power on. An example of this is the Public Utilities Council changing focus from providing cheap electricity to focusing on the reliability of the Texas Power grid.
“Conservative operations add costs,” said Cathy Webking, a longtime Texas energy lawyer.
ERCOT’s new approach to operating the grid means asking power plants to be online and available in case they’re needed. That means paying generators a prescribed price to run no matter what happens. Winter storm Uri may be behind us, but we are still paying for what happened and probably will continue to pay into the foreseeable future.
Texans will soon be seeing an additional charge on their energy bill that will repay ERCOT some of the money. You will see this line item on your statement from Pogo (and any other electricity retailer) as the ERCOT Winter Storm Uri Charge.
Heads up for what the PUCT is predicting
We wish we could say that the Texas weather is done with its shenanigans. Unfortunately, weather patterns are becoming more extreme—hotter summers and colder winters. You may want to prepare by getting familiar with some energy saving tips and tricks to keep your electric usage under wraps so you can stay within budget. If you are a Pogo prepay power customer, that is awesome. If you are not a Pogo customer, you can still find benefit in these tips.
Limit how many loads of laundry you do during high usage days and times. Put another blanket on the bed so you can turn the heater down in the winter and bump your thermostat up during the summer months. Only run the dishwasher when it is full. Close that space under the front door by installing some self-adhesive door weather stripping (you can pick some up for under $20) and stop leaving the TV on all night. Reducing your usage reduces the strain on the Texas Power Grid, and that benefits all Texans. If we are all having to pay more for electricity, we can reduce the financial strain by using less power.
We understand your frustration with the rising electricity costs. We don’t like it either. That is why we reduce our rates when we get a reduced rate. The price of electricity is anything but dependable, so we promise to work with you as much as we can to keep your lights on and as much money in the bank as possible.