Demand for electricity this summer is expected to be high. All homeowners and businesses throughout Texas may be called upon to conserve.
- Throughout the summer, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) may issue conservation alerts and ask Texans to conserve power to ensure our state's power grid isn't over-stressed, especially during peak-demand periods.
- ERCOT alerts apply not only to Reliant customers, but to Texans throughout the state, regardless of who provides their electricity.
- By conserving power, even in small ways, we can all help relieve stress on the electricity grid, making uninterrupted power more available for everyone.
What are good energy saving and conservation tips for summer?
We have great ideas to take advantage of summer weather, like using the bright sunshine for drying laundry. Implement these energy-saving habits as well as our other tips to save on electric bills all year long.
- Set thermostats 2 to 3 degrees higher from 2 to 7 p.m. and use fans to feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler.
- Follow the 4-by-4 rule: if no one is going to be home for more than 4 hours, set the temperature 4 degrees higher while you’re gone.
- Set pool pumps to run early in the morning or overnight; shut off from 4 to 6 p.m.
- Wait until after sundown to wash clothes and use your dishwasher.
- Opt for thermal drapes or black-out curtains to keep the heat outside your home and the cool air inside.
- Install ceiling fans and set the blades to spin counter-clockwise to circulate cool air.1
- Change your air filter regularly to ensure the AC is running at its best.
- Take advantage of the warm weather to hang laundry outside to dry. Running the dryer not only requires a great deal of electricity, but also raises the overall temperature of the house.
Why is my electric bill so high in the summer?
If you’ve ever received a high energy bill, your first thought was most likely: "Why are my charges so high this month?" Many factors contribute to high electricity bills — in particular, the hot weather. That's why summer is often the time Texas electricity customers see a spike in their bills.
Weather changes tend to correlate with spikes in energy bills because the harder your heating and air conditioning system works to make your home comfortable, the more energy you use. If you live in an area with excessive humidity, then your heating and air conditioning system will work harder to remove moisture from the air. A few signs of humidity in your home may include moist air, fogged-up windows or a musty smell. Humidity and heat can both contribute to a higher-than-normal electricity bill.
How can I make the most of the AC?
We suggest setting the temperature on your air conditioning system to 78 while home and increasing it by four degrees when you'll be away for four hours or more. It's the "4-by-4" principle. If 78 degrees feels hot, a ceiling fan or portable fan can make you feel significantly cooler but will use far less energy than your HVAC system. Additionally, it is critical to keep up with regular maintenance and tune-ups to make sure your AC can handle the heat when it’s time for summer.2
When you run your AC, think about ways the cool air could be escaping from the intended area. Prevent cool air loss by weather-stripping doors.
What can I do to control my energy costs?
- Sign up for average billing and even out seasonal highs and lows. You'll know what to expect, because your payments will have minimal fluctuation month to month.
- Sign up for AccountAlerts, a text notification service that automatically alerts you when your costs exceed a set amount and/or your daily usage jumps by 25 percent.3
- Download the Reliant App to check your balance whenever you please, and manage your account from wherever you are.
- Get an AC Tune-Up to make sure your system is working properly and efficiently.4
Take control of efficiency with the Reliant app
With the Reliant app, you can adjust your Nest Thermostat™ from anywhere and boost your energy efficiency. Plus, you can track your energy usage and get bill projections while you’re on the go.
Beat the Heat Program
The summer months can put a strain on anyone's electricity budget. Reliant is proud to sponsor Beat the Heat programs throughout Corpus Christi, Houston and North Texas. Rest assured, all programs are adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.
Find locations and details >
We all need electricity, but sometimes making ends meet is difficult. The CARE (Community Assistance from Reliant Energy) program works with nonprofit social service agencies to provide funding to Reliant customers who qualify for assistance with their electricity bills. Please note that CARE assistance is issued at the discretion of the agency. Customers who meet the agency criteria will receive assistance, funded by corporate and customer contributions, to help pay their electricity bills during difficult times. CARE is designed to help supplement what customers are able to pay but may not necessarily pay the entire electricity bill.
If you need help paying your electricity bill, call 2-1-1 within Texas or visit 211texas.org. Be sure to mention that you are a Reliant customer. 2-1-1 Texas does not distribute funds directly but can refer customers to agency partners who may have available resources. Be sure to contact the agency you're referred to by phone to get the latest information on how to submit your application.
Learn more about financial aid options >