Have you checked your electric bill lately? Or do you try not to look? The hot summer months can take a toll on your home's A/C, which is working overtime to keep your family cool. But you may be able to lower your bill without sweating it out.
Consumer expert Amy Davis is showing you a Houston company that is helping hundreds of people save money on their electric bills.
The laundry never ends at Katie Orange's Memorial home; that and her thermostat is always moving.
"I have a lot of air conditioning going on in this house," Orange said. "My kids are always flipping it on without my approval."
It's why she just thought her family's monthly $600 electric bills were unavoidable. But her bill in April gave her a jolt.
"In April, our electricity bill was $800," said Orange. "So my husband, he actually brought that to me, like 'What is going on?'"
Orange remembered a post she saw on Facebook for a Houston-based company called Energy Ogre.
"It's neat to help people and when they get excited, they tell other folks," said Energy Ogre CEO Jesson Bradshaw. "And that's sort of been the engine for us to keep going."
Bradshaw is a former energy executive who is now helping homeowners find the best electric companies and rates to keep their bills low. It's something most consumers just don't know how to do.
"What's the biggest mistake people are making when they're trying to choose an electric company?" Davis asked Bradshaw.
"I think a lot of people just sort of forget when their contracts come up and they don't really keep up with some of these things," Bradshaw answered. "Particularly if they're set up on auto pay, so it's out of sight, out of mind."
Just try looking for the lowest priced plan on the state's Power to Choose website. Most people get confused, duped or both. It's because many of the prices listed to allow you to compare rates are not apples to apples. One may say 9 cents a kilowatt, but not reveal the $10 monthly charge up front.
"We use an algorithm to go through and highlight the different plans that make the most sense for our customers based upon their usage," said Bradshaw.
It worked for Orange. After that $800 bill in April, she and her husband signed up with Energy Ogre.
"We got our May bill and it was $130," Orange said excitedly.
Here's how it works: Grab a recent electric bill and head to www.energyogre.com. Enter some basic information from your bill and within minutes, Energy Ogre lets you know if it can save you money. If it can, you pay the company for one year, either $10 a month or $120 up front. Once you sign up, the company keeps looking at energy plans to make sure you're always getting the lowest rate possible.
When you sign up with Energy Ogre, your electric bill and the $10 monthly fee is set on auto-pay so you don't have to worry about remembering to pay each month.