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Old 06-17-2010, 04:57 PM
Location: Plano
49 posts, read 102,190 times
Reputation: 39


I have been living in Plano, TX since this past August in an apartment community located off 121. I moved here from Gurnee, Illinois. I love Texas so far, love the area, love being able to go to Frisco/McKinney which are both 5 minutes away. However, I do not love the electric bills. Currently I have CoServ and live in a 2 bedroom apt, approx 1200 sq. feet and my bill was running close to 300 a month in the beginning. The highest was 450! Gradually with being EXTREMELY conscious of how I was using my electric I got the bill to $56 - 100 from January until now. Even with that accomplishment, I can no longer take the things that come with apartment living. Walls are extremely thin, I can hear full conversations happening outside, I hear the man below me coughing, hear ringtones, parking is terrible after 7 p.m., dog crap is all over the field where kids play so they don't want to go out there. On the weekends forget about it!! I could go on & on.

In Illinois I comfortably rented a home for $1600/month, I am not in a position to buy, so I rent. I am a single parent of 2 boys and I work from home, so commuting isn't an issue (for now). I see a lot of amazing homes in Frisco, but the electric bills make me very uncomfortable to rent something more than $1200 - $1300/month. I went through EXTREMES to reduce the bill here. I can't imagine what I would have to do in a bigger home. If I can only rent between $1200-1300 this reduces the type of homes I can consider. The schools my children will go to are very important, there are so many to choose from, almost too many. I plan to stay wherever I move to for at minimum 3 years while my oldest gets through Middle School. I would love a school/area with a little more diversity, I'm African-American, my children are mixed. I went to predominantly white schools, work in Corporate America and can count the minorities on one hand, this isn't a bad thing but sometimes I crave a little more diversity and would like that for my children. Don't think I'll get that in this area, but I'm open to other areas if the schools are top notch.

I have researched McKinney, Frisco, Plano and Little Elm. I’ve scoured this website. One thing consistent is I am always led back to Frisco due to the schools. Today I found myself looking at Master Plan Communities (Paloma Creek, Savannah, Providence Village) I also crave a close knit community/family experience but the schools do not compare to Frisco ISD. Also, diversity seemed to be non-existent in those communities.

I moved here for the great schools, the plethora of family oriented activities, youth sports and my salary going a lot further. I never thought I would be stressed over electric bills and overwhelmed by so many options. I am starting to feel a lot of pressure in finding the perfect home, my lease ends here on 7/16. I was considering moving into a bigger apartment, but again I can't take the thought of living another second in an apartment community unless someone can suggest a place where the issues above are reduced greatly! Plus my kids need room to be boys and not worry about dog poo or traffic.

Any guidance or feedback would be greatly appreciated.[/font]

Last edited by nicolenh; 06-17-2010 at 04:58 PM.. Reason: HTML Tags showing?
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:08 PM
16,092 posts, read 35,775,631 times
Reputation: 6264
How about an area with a cool lake and trees?

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Old 06-17-2010, 05:24 PM
Location: Plano
49 posts, read 102,190 times
Reputation: 39
Serious posts are greatly appreciated, please don't waste my time because I wouldn't waste yours. Thank you.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:42 PM
Location: Austin
7,077 posts, read 16,885,085 times
Reputation: 9484
Most of the area is deregulated with electricity. For you to say you're with Co-Serv tells me you're in a complex where you can't choose. Call some of the complexes in the area to find out which are using coserv and which aren't, and you'll lower your bills considerably. This will be the same with a house. Parts of Frisco and Little Elm are not deregulated, but I couldn't point you to a map that shows boundaries.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:57 PM
Location: Plano
49 posts, read 102,190 times
Reputation: 39
Thank you for the reply, I did do some research on deregulation and the companies available in Frisco. Yes, my complex goes with CoServ. Again, overwhelmed with all the options I guess I will need to see if I can get average bill costs from the home owners or real estate agents so I can try to budget properly.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:59 PM
27,444 posts, read 44,934,740 times
Reputation: 14040
our son rented apt in Carollton several years ago and his apt complex set the rate for his electricity--it was a small two bedroom--had windows that faced the west and was a top floor unit--so attic was under his ceilings...
they had high electric..and were gone most of the day and would set the thermostat high...
when they moved they made sure to get apt in complex where they could choose their provider...
apt complexes that set their own rates don't have to give you any concessions and they can do weird things with the electric like prorate the complex's lights/pool filters/ stuff like that to their tenants I think...
they are not regulated like normal electric providers are--which is not all that much anyway--so they really have LOT of room to max your electric bills...
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:04 PM
27,444 posts, read 44,934,740 times
Reputation: 14040
regarding home rental--
age of the HVAC unit and SEER rating, the insulation of the house, the types of windows and if there is any shade for those on west and south sides
what type of water heater you have
what type of appliances
if you use lot of high drain electronics--
all of those make an impact on home's electric bill...

if it is a rental home I don't know that you can get the past months' electric bills from the previous tenant but the home owner might can get something from TU electric
but you have to consider that the previous renter might not have same household situation that you do

most rental homes are not really designed to be energy efficent for the renters' sakes either...
and the fact that it is only home-owners who an take advantage of the tax rebates is real mistake to me...
letting people who own several rental homes invest the money in better energy efficienty is going to pay off no matter who is in the house--but guess the govt does not want people with multiple properties to take advantage of tax laws and get too much of a rebate...
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:51 PM
Location: Boerne area
706 posts, read 1,476,503 times
Reputation: 858
where your home/apt is located in relation to the sun will matter a great deal, as loves2read mentions. When in Plano we had an East/West facing 2 story house w/ the majority of the windows on the west side. It was brutal. Forget the bills, it was hard to even get the house comfortable. So in addition to the age of the house, insulation and appliances (and age of air conditioning equipment) make sure to consider the placement of the house and any available shade. It will really make a difference.
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:19 PM
Location: Plano
49 posts, read 102,190 times
Reputation: 39
Thanks 88txaggie & loves2read. Your input is very helpful.
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:28 PM
Location: Plano, TX
165 posts, read 449,487 times
Reputation: 122
You probably live at Riachi at 121 like I used to. In my opinion that was an okay place for a short-term(1-2 yrs) stay but as the apartment ages I wouldn't want to live there. We used to live in a two bed room apartment on a second floor. We were forced to use Coserv and the highest bill was 187, which I thought was quite high for a 1100 sq ft apartment.
However, many people praised Coserv on this forum and claimed that deregulation actually caused the prices to be higher. I have no idea who is right. We now live in a 2500 sqft house and my monthly utility costs(electricity, gas, and water) averages about $220 or so.
I lived in various apartments for 9 years and most of them have thin walls. Luckily, most of the time I had good neighbors who didn't make a lot of noise. Did you ask your apartment manager whether you can switch to a quieter apartment? I totally understand your pain as I had a very unplesant experience in 2001 . I was in Phoenix and there were some young teenage kids that lived next to me. They kept playing loud music in the middle of the night and often times held party with friends. I highly suspect they were on drugs, too. I had to call the police several times and they were finally evicted but I had very little sleep for almost a month....In retrospect, I really should have asked to be switched to a different apartment..
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