Electricity: Frequently Asked Questions
On the Street
Where does our electric power come from?
buys, and sells power for use in Greenville and for sale on the open
market. Our partnership with Bryan, Garland, and Denton in the Texas
Municipal Power Association (TMPA) gives us access to electricity produced
at the large coal generation plant in Grimes County, Texas (near Bryan).
GEUS also operates a natural gas-fired steam generator plant in north
The TMPA plant is a "base load" plant that runs continuously.
Much of the time the electric power you use in your home or business
comes from the Grimes County plant.
The local plant is a "peaking plant". It operates based on
the current market price of electricity. When GEUS can
produce power at a lower cost than we can buy it, your electricity comes
from the Greenville plant.
Any excess power generated at our Greenville plant that's not needed
here is sold on the open market. At times, all of the power from the
local plant is sold, producing revenues that allow GEUS to
lower our customer's costs.
Will we have enough power to meet our future
David McCalla, General Manager gave this
presentation to the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Membership
Luncheon on March 2, 2012:
What is a kilowatt hour?
A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the amount of energy required to provide 1
kilowatt (1,000 watts) of electricity for one hour. A 100-watt light
bulb burning for 1 hour uses 0.1 kWh. When the same bulb burns for 10
hours, it uses 1 kWh.
How do I read my electric meter?
Instructions for reading your electric meter and a diagram of a typical
meter are here.
Does a new refrigerator use less electricity
than an old one?
Most modern appliances are more energy efficient than older models,
so a new refrigerator would probably use less electrical power than your
What is the average cost to run my household
appliances for a month?
- Freezer (15 cu. ft.), frostless: $12.00
- Freezer (15 cu. ft.), conventional: $7.20
- Refrigerator/freezer (15-16 cu. ft.), frostless: $11.20
- Refrigerator/freezer (15-16 cu. ft.), conventional: $8.00
- Blender, used once a day: negligible
- Coffee Maker: 70¢
- Microwave, used 20 minutes a day: $1.20
- Toaster, used 48 times a month: 21¢
- Oven, used 30 hours + self cleaning: $3.44
- Dishwasher, used once a day: $9.60
- Room air conditioner, 1 ton, continuous use: $63.76
- Room air conditioner, 2 ton, continuous use: $81.04
- Washer, 140º hot wash/warm rinse, 20 loads: $11.04
- Clothes dryer, 20 loads: $4.80
- Water heater, 52 gallons, 140º (3 people): $45.60
- Portable heater: $31.80
- Radio, 3 hours a day: 90¢
- TV, 5 hours a day: $2.88
- Lighting, 8 hours a day, 100 w incandescent bulb: $1.92
Lighting, 8 hours a day, 40 w fluorescent bulb: 77¢
(a 40 w fluorescent produces more light than
a 100 w incandescent bulb)
- Water bed heater, with thermostat: $12.00
- Hot tub, 300 gal. fiberglass, 106º: $44.80
Should I turn off my electric service when I
go on vacation?
If you cut off power to your home by turning off the main breaker, none
of your automatic appliances or lighting will work. That makes it impossible
to use outdoor security lighting or timers on room lights to make your
home appear occupied while you are away. Your refrigerator and freezer
will defrost and, if you have an electric water heater, you won't be
able to take a hot shower when you arrive home! These factors should
be weighed against any possible savings on your electric bill by turning
off the power while you are gone.You may want to turn off and unplug
small kitchen appliances, TV sets, computers, chargers, and other non-essential
items while you are away.
How about my air-conditioning?
You can save considerable energy by turning your AC off (or setting
the thermostat higher) when you are not at home. If the compressor (the
big energy user) on your air conditioning unit runs for 20 minutes each
hour to keep your house at 70º, it will run for 8 hours every day.
That means you'll pay for the electricity to power that compressor to
keep your home cool while nobody is there! The higher the temperature
setting, the less time your compressor will run. Turning off the air
completely, of course, means you won't be paying for cooling while you
are away. You may also want to consider turning off the air or raising
the thermostat when you will be away all day. Or invest in a setback
thermostat that can be set to start cooling the house an hour before
How can I reduce my home lighting costs?
- Use high efficiency light bulbs such as compact fluorescent bulbs
in high use areas. They cost more to buy, but far less to use
- Turn off fluorescent bulbs if you will be out of the room more than
- Turn off incandescent bulbs every time you leave the room.
- Use only the lights you need
- Use a reading lamp or desk lamp for close work instead of a multi-bulb
Is there any advantage to using fluorescent
- Fluorescent bulbs supply 3 to 4 times the light of ordinary incandescent
bulbs of the same wattage.
- They also last up to 10 times longer.
Why do some light bulbs burn out more often
The tiny wire filaments in light bulbs can be broken by vibration or
high voltage. If regular bulbs burn out frequently, try using 130-volt
incandescent bulbs or fluorescent bulbs.
What should I do when the lights go out?
- Report the outage to GEUS Repair,
- Turn off or unplug all non-essential appliances
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed
One part of my house has no power. What should
- Inspect the circuit beaker panel to determine if any of the breakers
are tripped (open).
- If a breaker is tripped, open it all the way, then reclose it.
- If none of the breakers in the panel are tripped, or resetting does
not restore power, call GEUS Repair,
do I call to report a problem with my electric service?
Call GEUS Repair at 903.457.2888.
How do I report a street light that isn't working?
Call GEUS Repair at 903.457.2888
or e-mail Dispatch with
specific street identification.
Who do I call with questions about my electric
Call the GEUS main number at 903.457.2800 and ask for customer
service. Trained GEUS representatives
will assist you.
What is the difference between residential and
- All GEUS residential customers are billed a flat fee of $7.50
a month. Then a set fee (depending on the season) is charged per kWh
of usage. The fuel adjustment charge (FAC) per kWh is added. FAC varies
from month to month depending on the cost of the fuel used to generate
- Commercial accounts are billed a flat fee of $14.25 a month. A commercial
rate is charged per kWh of usage. The commercial rate is approximately
half the residential rate, but commercial accounts are also billed a
maximum peak or demand charge based on the maximum kW or peak load the
building puts on the GEUS system. The FAC is also calculated
and included as part of each commercial account's bill. See
Why is my electric bill so high?
Several factors determine the size of your monthly bill.
First, figure out which charges on your bill are for electric service.
(Remember if you live in the city limits, your bill probably contains
water, sewer, garbage, and electric. You will soon have the option of
including cable television and high speed Internet.) When friends who
live outside Greenville talk about their electric bills, they are probably
talking about electric charges only. Remember this when making a comparison!
GEUS' rates have been competitive with surrounding
electric utilities for the past several years. How much electricity your
home or business actually uses is based on several factors, including
the efficiency and age of appliances (especially heating and cooling
systems), the amount of insulation in the building, and your own habits.
Consumers who keep their thermostats set at 72 degrees in the summer
or 78 degrees in the winter consume much more electricity than those
who are comfortable at 78 degrees in the summer and 72 degrees in the
winter. Those six degrees, year round, will increase the electric bill
Other factors include the number of times children or pets go in and
out the doors, the type of lighting you use (GEUS recommends fluorescent
and compact fluorescent lighting for many applications), weather temperature
fluctuations and how careful your family or employees
are about turning off the lights when leaving a room.
How can I save energy and reduce my electric
- Use flat bottom pans that match the size of the burners on your
- Cook several dishes at once in the oven.
- Clean the oven when it's still warm from cooking.
- Use a microwave oven when it will work just as well as another method.
Microwaves use less electricity than conventional cooking because they
cook faster at lower wattage.
- Run the dishwasher only when full.
- Don't open the refrigerator or freezer repeatedly.
- Keep the refrigerator's condenser coils clean.
- Use the washer and dryer only when you have a full load. Use warm
or cold water to wash and rinse.
- Turn off appliances and lights when you aren't using them. (Except
for security lighting.)
- Learn about the GEUS Savvy Consumer Energy Efficiency Program
Is it possible to get pay-as-you-go electric
GEUS' emPOWER pre-paid
electric service allows you to purchase electricity in advance using
a card that is read by a unit in your home. You can purchase additional
power at GEUS customer service locations and at an around the clock kiosk
at the Police & Courts Building on Lee Street.
Why does GEUS prune my trees?
Although trees are an asset to the appearance of our streets, they can
create problems when they grow into power lines. Wind-blown branches
can come in contact with lines, causing power outages and the danger
of fire. Did you know that trees conduct electricity? That's just another
reason to keep branches from growing too close to live power lines. It's
dangerous for homeowners to trim trees close to electrical lines. So GEUS does
it for you. Live Wires and Treetops gives
a more complete explanation of our tree-trimming policies.
I'm landscaping my new home. How close to the
power lines can I plant trees?
We're glad you asked! It's always better to keep trees far enough away
from the lines so it won't be necessary to prune them for clearance around
the lines. Live Wires and Treetops gives
guidelines for tree planting near utility poles and power lines.
What do the colored lines sprayed on the street
in front of my house mean?
They are part of the "Dig Safely" program that alerts construction
workers to the presence of buried utility lines.
They are usually put in place if some kind of excavation or demolition
work is planned for your street.
The different colors signify specific types of utility lines.