Energy helps us to move through our daily lives, and is a basic necessity that most of us take for granted. While we all use energy at home, there are many businesses in Houston, Texas that have to keep a close eye on their annual budget and expenses. Running a business relies on using energy in some way, shape or form and this can be tough on finances.
While it’s certainly true that some business costs are fixed, there are many flexible options available in Houston to help business owners reduce energy costs. From energy deregulation to city run initiatives, business owners can take advantage of useful benefits to keep their lights running efficiently and effectively for years to come.
Energy Deregulation in Houston
For many states within the U.S, laws regarding energy deregulation came into place in the early part of this century. These laws prevent utilities from monopolizing the market, and allow energy providers to compete for business. Competing energy providers need to offer the best and most cost effective rates and plans, since customers can choose who supplies their energy. It is one way to ensure that the cost of energy remains low and affordable in America.
Houston became an energy deregulated city in 2002. Today, both residents and businesses have the option to choose their Retail Electric Provider (REP) based on rates, flexible plans and special products.
The following zip codes in Houston are deregulated:
77001, 77002, 77003, 77004, 77005, 77006, 77007, 77008, 77009, 77010, 77011, 77012, 77013, 77014, 77015, 77016, 77017, 77018, 77019, 77020, 77021, 77022, 77023, 77024, 77025, 77026, 77027, 77028, 77029, 77030, 77031, 77032, 77033, 77034, 77037, 77080, 77072, 77073, 77074, 77075, 77076, 77077, 77071, 77079, 77066, 77081, 77082, 77083, 77078, 77070, 77069, 77067, 77065, 77064, 77063, 77062, 77061, 77060, 77059, 77058, 77208, 77084, 77068, 77098, 77213, 77212, 77210, 77209, 77035, 77207, 77057, 77205, 77204, 77203, 77202, 77206, 77099, 77085, 77097, 77096, 77095, 77094, 77093, 77092, 77091, 77090, 77089, 77088, 77087, 77086, 77201, 77015, 77041, 77055, 77054, 77053, 77052, 77051, 77050, 77049, 77048, 77047, 77046, 77045, 77044, 77027, 77042, 77028, 77040, 77039, 77038, 77216, 77036, 77217, 77034, 77033, 77032, 77031, 77030, 77056, 77043, 77267, 77256, 77274, 77273, 77272, 77271, 77270, 77277, 77268, 77279, 77266, 77265, 77263, 77262, 77259, 77257, 77269, 77289, 77215, 77299, 77298, 77297, 77293, 77292, 77275, 77290, 77258, 77288, 77287, 77284, 77282, 77281, 77280, 77291, 77225, 77255, 77233, 77261, 77230, 77229, 77228, 77235, 77226, 77234, 77224, 77223, 77222, 77221, 77220, 77219, 77218, 77227, 77250, 77254, 77253, 77252, 77231, 77251, 77236, 77249, 77248, 77245, 77244, 77243, 77242, 77241, 77240, 77238, 77237
Power to Choose for Houston Businesses
Energy deregulation applies to both residences and businesses of all sizes. In some cases, simply being aware of the fact that your business is located in a city where you can switch energy providers is half the battle. However, if you are a small business owner, you might not have the time, expertise, or resources available to appraise and decrease your energy consumption.
Many state governments run energy deregulated, small business programs to educate consumers about their options. In Houston, small (and larger) business owners can benefit from the Texas government run, Power to Choose program called, Power to Save.
Power to Save offers energy saving tips, information about grid conditions, and the option to become a Power Partner. Power Partners are businesses who make a commitment to lower their energy consumption to help conserve electricity and save money.
The city of Houston also opened a Green Building Resource Center in 2009. Its purpose is to allow business owners to share their plans and discuss energy saving strategies with knowledgable representatives. The centre also offers many oppourtunities to learn about the latest in green building materials, and other renewable energy equipment like solar panels and wind turbines.
Commercial Energy Rates and Plans
In addition to state and city run programs, many Retail Energy Suppliers also offer special energy savings to businesses of all sizes. The benefits are well worth investigating your options. Small business energy savings plans are varied but their overall goal is the same: they ensure consumers decide on an option that gives them the most out of their energy consumption.
Energy suppliers who offer small business plans will often have online tools to help identify the products and rates available in an area. These plans are also competitive, and offer similar opportunities to save.
Of course, there are also aggregators and comparison websites that list rates and plans from dozens of suppliers — our site, ElectricChoice.com, being one of the best (though we might be biased!). On Electric Choice, we allow homes and businesses to compare commercial energy rates and plans from Houston — and across the state of Texas.
Houston Supports Businesses
Houston sees huge economic benefits from several industries including, energy, financial services, and technology. To attract new businesses, the city offers several different types of tax reductions. In particular, the city encourages businesses to build on Brownfield areas, which are classified as abandoned or underused properties that have a potential impact on the environment. Examples of brownfield sites include, abandoned auto repair shops, service stations, warehouses, landfills and dry cleaning facilities. Reusing existing infrastructure and utilities helps the city to promote land conservation and provide protection to the environment.
Another Houston run program that benefits businesses is called Hire Houston First. This program focuses on promoting businesses and creating job opportunities within the city. It also means that every business in Houston must meet building codes and other business regulations in order to operate. Amongst permits, plan reviews, inspections and even signage, businesses must go through a utility analysis to ensure that the infrastructure can support the service.
The city’s Office of Business Opportunity gives out information to new and established business owners through various no cost services. Many of their services serve to benefit or assist small business owners. Houston also offers a program known as the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). It offers local business leaders the opportunity to get involved in shaping and directing Houston’s economic growth and success.