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What makes CutMyBill better than other solar cost and savings calculators for CPS customers?

There are three key reasons that our CPS solar cost and bill savings calculator is far better than any other solar calculator or solar estimate website on the net for CPS customers;

  • Firstly, whilst most solar panels calculators are really good at forecasting the electricity production you can get from installing solar panels for your home (because they all rely on the pwatts.nrel.gov solar production data) most of them just use a single generic state wide unit cost for electricity in their calculations. Our CPS solar cost and bill savings calculator actually uses our database of each of the available CPS electric rates plans to use more specific electricity cost data. Therefore we can generate much more accurate solar savings analysis.
  • The second reason is that we use DOE (Department of Energy) electricity usage patterns for the CPS service territory, and some very basic questions we ask you about your home to estimate how you use power over the course of a day and the seasons of the year. This allows us to accurately forecast solar savings where time of use electricity plans are available to you. We estimate your electricity usage for each hour of the year and then overlay the known production of solar panels in your area for each hour of the year. Without this level of detail solar panel cost and savings calculators on are inaccurate; and
  • Lastly, before we even consider solar savings, we look for any savings that can be achieved simply by swapping to a cheaper available CPS rate plan. Our software looks for any available CPS rates plan that works our cheaper for your estimated usage pattern. Generally speaking savings from swapping to a cheaper CPS rates plan are only available to those who have larger monthly electric bills but given it only takes a phone call to achieve these savings it is by far the quickest and easiest bill cutting option where it is possible.
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Will installing a solar power system or swapping rate plans save me the most on my monthly CPS payment?

There are almost always far greater cost savings to be obtained from installing solar panels than swapping rates plans but this doesn't mean possible savings from swapping rate plans should be ignored. The other reason we search for your cheapest rate plan is that to forecast total possible savings you could get on your bill you need to take into account both savings that may be available from swapping to the cheapest rate plan and also savings that come from swapping your generation source for some of your power usage to your own solar power.

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How accurate is the CutMyBill estimate of my power usage pattern?

The CutMyBill electricity usage profile estimator is a key part of the technology of why CutMyBill can forecast solar and bill swapping savings so accurately without requiring you to enter your kilowatt hour electricity usage for each month of the year or to upload 12 months worth of power bills.

The way we do this is we use electricity use profiles collected by the Department of Energy for each building type at each weather station across the CPS service territory. Some of the characteristics of your home such as your average monthly power spend and the square footage of your home are used to refine this analysis.

This gives a fairly accurate estimate but it is not an exact estimate. The best way to get an exact estimate of your solar savings and whether or not there are possible savings from swapping rate plans is to speak to one of your local solar companies. Whilst solar companies are experts in solar they also become experts in knowing the cheapest rate plans (both before and after solar) from their local utility companies.

Estimate my power usage pattern over a day and over the seasons of the year

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There are three options that you can explore to cut your power bill as a CPS Energy customer.

Installing solar panels as a CPS Energy customer

Pro's of solar panel installation in the CPS Energy territory it is often possible to save $50,000 or more by installing solar panels and get a payback in 5-7 years on a product that will keep saving you money for 25 years. There are now also competitive financing options that mean most homeowners can get solar panels on a zero down loan.

Con's of installing solar solar is a fairly big project and requires you to have the unshaded roof space available to do it. (Our calculator shows you how much roof space you need). This bill savings option is usually not available to renters or people living in multi-family buildings.

Swapping to a better CPS Energy rate plan

Pro's of swapping rate plans: costs nothing and is easy.

Con's of swapping rate plans: savings may be quite small but given it costs nothing and only takes an email to FPL why not.

Reducing electricity use through energy efficiency measures

Pro's of energy efficiency: may be a smaller project and less costly process than solar.

Con's of energy efficiency: it may be hard to borrow money to do energy efficiency upgrades as you can for installing solar panels. It may involve retiring equipment before the end of its useful life. Is also usually takes some investment in expert analysis before the level of savings can be determined.

Can I get a lower power bill by swapping to a different CPS Energy rate plan?

CPS has 3 different rate plans: RE, RA and RCE. RE and RA are both types of tiered rate plans. RCE is a demand billing rate plan. You can find more on the rate plans here.

If you are on the RE plan switch to the RA plan. These two plans are almost identical, except you'll pay less for all kWh over 600 kWh in the winter months on the RA plan.

As for the RCE plan. This plan features a demand billing charge. Meaning the utility will calculate a 15 minute interval during every month where the customer uses the most electricity. The demand billing charge will then be calculated with the amount of kW used during that 15 minute period.

Without knowing your exact usage it's hard to say what the cheapest plan is for a particular household. The electric plans are approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and plans are designed to work out roughly the same in terms of total costs for consumers with average consumption patterns.

That being said, you can save between $0-$15 per month from swapping electricity rates.

How much can I lower my power bill through adopting energy efficiency measures?

CPS offers a free home energy assessment so they can come to your home and tell you what measures to take to improve your home efficiency.

One of the easiest ways to lower your power bill is to install new LED or energy efficiency light globes. Old light globes use a lot more power than new energy efficiency light globes. Installing new light globes can lower your power bills.

CPS offers customers a free WI-Fi Honeywell programmable thermostat. This enables you to control the temperature of your home wirelessly from a mobile or computer.

Check out this article for more on energy efficiency measures you can take to save money on your power bill.

How to calculate savings from energy efficiency measures?

The Department of Energy has developed a series of energy efficiency savings calculators that allow you to calculate the amount of money you could save broken down into the major categories of appliances that use power such as:

  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Lighting
  • Clothes washing and drying
  • Food preparation and dish washing.
Reduce your energy by using your appliances less

 

The Department of Energy publishes calculators can be used to calculate savings that can be achieved by using these devices less frequently (lifestyle changes) and also savings that can be achieved by using more efficient versions of each of these appliances.

What incentives are available from CPS for energy efficiency?

CPS offers many incentives for energy efficiency. These include rebates for; Central Air Conditioners, Heat pumps, pool pumps and attic insulation.

CPS also offers free smart meters. These enable users to control the temperature of their home from a mobile device or computer.

Check out the home energy efficiency programs page for more.

How much can you save by swapping your CPS rate plan

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What other government incentives are available to CPS Customers for energy efficiency?

There are some rebates and tax credits available from the Department of Energy for on energy efficient appliances and renovations.

Is it worthwhile to install solar panels as an CPS Customer?

The short answer is yes, absolutely yes. If you own your own home, the single best way to lower your power bill is to install solar. Solar has the potential to set your electricity bill to $0.

Texas has an average solar payback period of about 8 years. This means if you install solar now, in 8 years the system will have paid for itself thought power savings and then you can enjoy 17 years of free power. This equates to tens of thousands of dollars in power savings.

Imagine 17 years of free power. When you get your monthly bill it will be $0, or the utility could even owe you money. In Texas “net metering” (link to page 3) exist which enables you to get paid for energy exported to the grid. This means if your solar panels are producing more power than your using, you can pump the excess power into the grid and be compensated the same rate you pay for power.

People who install solar in Texas typically save $44,000 over the lifetime of the system.

Calculate your likely cost, savings and payback period from installing solar panels given your usage

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What are the limitations of solar when it comes to reducing your CPS electric bill?

The biggest limitation of solar is it generally not available to renters or those living in multi-family buildings.

Of coarse, another limitation is solar is a intermittent power source. Solar converts the sun's energy into usable electricity. At night solar does not produce any power. This is why there has been so much hype around batteries lately. Battery solve the problem of intermittence, they allow solar panels to charge up batteries during the day then discharge at night when the solar panels have stopped producing power.

Battery prices are falling exponentially and in a few years it will be very common to install battery packs along side solar panels. For now, net metering exists, which essentially eliminates the need for a battery. Net metering enables the grid to act as a battery by economically storing energy.

Should I install solar now or wait till the price drops?

Knowing when to buy solar can be tricky. The cost of solar has fallen dramatically and will continue to fall in the future. In a few years solar systems will be much cheaper than they are today. You'd think it would be better to install solar later, but in reality now, in 2018 as a CPS customer is probably the best time to install solar.

This is mainly due to the incentives available. CPS and the government will pay for a large portion of your solar system. In 2019 the federal solar incentive will start to reduce and CPS is one of the last utilities to still offer a rebate for solar. So, don't expect them to last forever.

If you were to wait 5 years, the system will be cheaper per watt than it is today. But, all the incentives available today will be gone meaning the same system could be more expensive.

Right now is a great time to invest in solar as a CPS customers. The incentives available make solar a great deal, but, they have an expiry date and that date is coming soon. If you've ever thought about installing solar, contact local installers today before you miss out.

Find more about CPS Energy electric rate plans.