Take action: How prepared are you for no power?

Power Outage Preparation

Photo courtesy of NRG

October — normally associated with spooky fanfare and autumn foliage — was also National Energy Action Month. And for me, it was the perfect time to take a step back and assess not only how my family and friends use energy in our homes and lives, but also how prepared we are for an unexpected power outage.

As a mother, I want to always be prepared to protect and take care of my family, in any situation. And I’m sure you do as well. I’d like to share why I’ve been motivated to get my home and family better prepared to avoid going through a few powerless days and nights and give you tips on how you can do the same.

Make Power Accessible
Our mobile devices keep us connected to the world, and it can definitely be more than a mere inconvenience when their batteries die. When it happens during a power outage, it can quickly escalate into a major problem. Not being able to access up-to-the-minute weather information, reach emergency personnel or check on the safety of loved ones are just a few of the potential challenges that might arise in such a situation.

Goal Zero has made a phenomenal line of portable chargers, flashlights, generators, battery storage and even foldable solar panels.

For me, going through Hurricane Ike and its aftermath a few years ago was a wake-up call. The night it came through, I vividly remember lying awake as the wind and rain beat against the windows and tree limbs fell around my parent’s house. I lay there wondering if we’d be protected through the night. Thankfully, the next morning we were safe, but I felt powerless in the wake of the storm and during the days we were forced to live without electricity.

That’s a feeling I don’t want anyone to experience. It motivated all of us at NRG to develop solutions that made power both personal and portable. In this era of personal power, accessing power whenever you need it is becoming easier and more convenient than ever before. Rentable power packs, like the ones available at NRG Freedom Stations™ in select locations around Texas, are just one example. Now is a great time to explore your options for portable power made for personal use. Just make sure you keep your mobile devices charged so they’re available if the power goes out!

Harness the Power of the Sun
At NRG, we recently welcomed a leading developer of solar-powered products into our family. Goal Zero has made a phenomenal line of portable chargers, flashlights, generators, battery storage and even foldable solar panels that can provide peace of mind while on-the-go and can charge everything from a tablet to home health equipment. And before you think options like these are bulky and cumbersome or even difficult to use — think again.

They are portable, easy-to-use and affordable. And their flashlights and lanterns can be seen at the center of any overnight backyard camping adventure for your family, or, if you are in my house, to help tell a bedtime story!

We want you to be prepared and feel empowered. So here are a few other tips from NRG that can help you and your family stay as prepared as possible should your power go out:

  • Have an emergency weather radio on hand. Look for ones that can be charged with a simple hand crank or with solar power. Some models can even charge cell phones and other small devices.
  • Store flashlights, extra batteries, candles and all of your power accessories in an easy-to-remember place accessible to the whole family.
  • When streetlights go dark during a power outage, installing solar-powered outdoor lighting is an alternative to illuminate outside walkways and entrances to your home.
  • Lucky enough to have an unshaded, south-facing location on your property? Consider installing a solar water heater. They’re environmentally-friendly and can even be installed to blend into your home’s existing architecture.

Now is the time to take action, make a plan and have peace of mind for you and your family before another power outage leaves you in the dark. Have you already taken steps to prepare your home and family for an emergency outage? Share your tips and actions taken in the comments below.

2014 Reliant Energy Retail Holdings, LLC. All rights reserved | 1201 Fannin Street | Houston, TX 77002

Photo courtesy of Reliant

Energy efficiency in the kitchen is a recipe everyone can follow

Save Energy This Summer

For many, the kitchen is the most popular room in the house and the heart of the home. Maybe it’s because we are focused on cooking dinner, grabbing that last slice of cake or making an epic sandwich, but energy efficiency is not usually top of mind when we walk into our kitchens.

But the kitchen is often the room in which we consume the most energy. Studies even show that we could save 10 to 30 percent on our energy bills each year by improving the efficiency of our homes and at work.

From fixtures to appliances, small changes in the kitchen can help you save energy. Here are a few favorites that we can pursue:

  • It may be convenient to store extra food, but avoid putting your freezer in a hot garage. Temperatures can soar well past 90° F, especially in hotter climates like Texas, and that extra heat can cause the unit to use more electricity.
  • Practice cooking more efficiently. Using a small pan on a large burner can waste almost 50 percent of the heat produced by the burner. And if you prepare meals on a gas cooktop, be on the lookout for a blue flame; a yellow one can indicate the burner is not operating at maximum efficiency.
  • When it’s time for kitchen clean-up, make sure the dishwasher is full, but don’t overload it. Going back and re-washing dishes that didn’t get clean only increases energy usage. And if you feel the need to soak or pre-wash your dishes, save it for those with burned-on or dried-on foods.
  • Traditional incandescent lights generate extra heat, so open the blinds on your kitchen windows to take full advantage of the natural light flowing through them. Caulking and weather-stripping around windows to prevent heat and air from escaping helps maintain the desired temperature in your home year-round.

Another delicious way I’ve found that contributes to energy cost savings? Giving the oven a night off! Texas summers can give anyone (including yours truly) a good reason to stay out of the kitchen, so indulge in some “cool” dishes for the entire family to enjoy. These are some easy favorites:

The kitchen is just the beginning! Find even more ways to not only cut down on energy costs all over your home, but also help build the energy-saving habits needed to protect and sustain our environment on the Reliant website.


Elizabeth Killinger is president of NRG Texas Retail and Reliant.

2014 Reliant Energy Retail Holdings, LLC All rights reserved | 1201 Fannin Street | Houston, TX 77002

Photo courtesy of Reliant

Beat the heat and take the guesswork out of billing this summer and beyond

Summer Energy Tips

When it’s 95 degrees in the shade, there’s no space for even one more inner tube at the water park, and your iPhone just let you know it’s too hot to update your Facebook feed — welcome! It’s summer in Texas. But if the fear of higher electricity costs has you sweating more than a high-noon sun, Reliant has a one-of-a-kind new electricity plan to keep you cool and a few super simple summer energy tips and resources to save you some dollars along the way.

The Reliant Predictable 12 plan can be your first line of defense when it comes to budgeting electricity costs, not only during sweltering Texas summers, but also when unpredictable weather plunges us into freezing temperatures. That’s because this plan keeps your electricity costs the same every month for 12 months. Yes, you read that correctly — an entire 12 months! Knowing the amount you’ll be charged for electricity costs each month will ease any concern that can come with seasonal billing and temperature fluctuations and make it much easier to stick to your budget.

Although Predictable 12 customers won’t have to worry about monthly bill fluctuations, taking even small steps to save energy can go a long way in helping to reduce your environmental impact.

  • Automatic settings: Set your A/C fan to the “auto” position rather than the “on” position.
  • Freshen those filters: Change your air vents monthly. Dirty filters can make your system run harder and longer.
  • Calling all caulkers: Seal your windows with caulk or weather stripping to reduce air leaks.
  • Get with the program: Install a programmable thermostat to save an estimated 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs.
  • Change the channel: Set your TV to the “home” or “standard” screen setting. The “vivid” or “retail” settings are unnecessarily bright and burn 20 percent more power.
  • Get out of hot water: Lower the temperature settings on your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 degrees.
  • Round and round you go: Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counter-clockwise direction in the summer.
  • Toast it up: Use microwave and toaster ovens to warm leftovers. You’ll use less energy than with a conventional oven and generate less heat.
  • Fill ’er up: Wash full loads of clothes when possible. When smaller loads are necessary, use less water.
  • Get grill ready: Grill more often during the summer. Using the oven in summer forces your AC to work harder.
  • 4 and 4: Setting your thermostat four degrees higher when you’re away for more than four hours helps reduce electricity usage.

And though Predictable 12 will be a budgeting lifesaver for many, Reliant knows that some of our neighbors tend to struggle during the summer months, especially those with no access to air conditioning or who must budget on tighter lower incomes. So again for the fifth year, we’ve opened free Beat the Heat Centers for any and all local residents. Each center will offer adult and kids’ activities, snacks, and bottled water, so hunger and boredom will not be an option! You can go here to find a Beat the Heat Center near you.

More energy efficiency tips are available at Reliant.com, and our customer service team members can work to find a plan, financial assistance programs or extensions for qualified low-income residential customers. And, anyone who is a Reliant customer can benefit from a personal Home Energy Checkup where a Reliant Home Consultant will provide a free in-home consultation and help identify any energy efficiency opportunities.

When the Texas summer heats up, it’s just another reason to lend a hand and look for ways to help our many customers and community members. Together we can save electricity and stay cool.


Elizabeth Killinger is president of NRG Texas Retail and Reliant.

2014 Reliant Energy Retail Holdings, LLC All rights reserved | 1201 Fannin Street | Houston, TX 77002 | PUC Certificate #10007

Reliant has opened free Beat the Heat Centers for any and all local residents.

Reliant Beat the Heat
Photo courtesy of Reliant
Reliant has opened free Beat the Heat Centers for any and all local residents.
Photo courtesy of Reliant

Good corporate citizenship ensures a brighter future for Dallas — and it starts with you

Hands-on Corporate Citizenship

Corporate citizenship can be a contact sport when you add a little creativity. For the last two years, the Dallas Cowboys exchanged the 50-yard line for the batter’s box to help Reliant donate to local charities. This Home Run Derby competition raised more than $80,000 for the Salvation Army Youth Education Town and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

We’re hands-on with other giving here in Dallas too: Our holiday lights sponsorship at the AT&T Performing Arts Center last December gave thousands of North Texas residents the opportunity to enjoy a free spectacular lighting display. Then we hosted a tree-decorating contest with Booker T. Washington High School students benefiting the high school and the Salvation Army.

If your workplace isn’t already involved in community events or giving, maybe you can be the catalyst. What a better time to make a difference than now?

NRG and Reliant employees don’t just volunteer around the holidays; we are also at the North Texas Food Bank as part of our Global Giving Day program. And we support Dallas youth by providing T-shirts and planners for students who participate in the PLAY 60 Challenge. The PLAY 60 Challenge is a program created by the NFL and the American Heart Association that motivates kids to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

The most important contact in the sport of corporate citizenship is connecting people, lending a hand and getting involved. As good corporate citizens, companies must become part of the community.

I’m passionate about this viewpoint, and I’m thankful to work at a company with a community-focused culture. Through Reliant and our parent company, NRG, last year employees volunteered for more than 200 organizations across Texas, giving 6,000 hours across charitable organizations and projects.

If your workplace isn’t already involved in community events or giving, maybe you can be the catalyst. What a better time to make a difference than now? You can start small, follow your passions and serve as an example for others who may be interested. Not all of our community involvement is monetary. Employees serve on boards, mentor children, donate items and get involved in other ways to make a difference in the communities where we live and work.

The trophy in this contact sport doesn’t go on the mantel; it is displayed through workplace morale, community strength and a stronger future for Dallas and the surrounding area. Next time you recognize an opportunity or need, step up to the plate. We are all here for a reason — and we can each make a difference.

Join me. Let’s create a brighter future for our community and our children. If not us, then who?


Elizabeth Killinger is president of NRG Texas Retail and Reliant.

2014 Reliant Energy Retail Holdings, LLC All rights reserved | 1201 Fannin Street | Houston, TX 77002 | PUC Certificate #10007

As good corporate citizens, companies must become part of the community.

Guys wearing Reliant T-shirts at stadium
Photo courtesy of Reliant
As good corporate citizens, companies must become part of the community.
Photo courtesy of NRG

Rooftop solar equals personal power

Power Up

Think of all the power we have at our fingertips now, thanks to technology.

We can have virtually anything delivered to our doorstep through the Web and monitor our health stats from our wrists. We can crowd source funding for whole new companies from our couch. We can adjust the thermostat in our home from across the country or the warmth of our bed.

We can even generate our own electricity right from our homes. So why isn’t everyone doing it already?

​Leasing a solar panel is more affordable and accessible than ever before, enabling more and more Texans to make the jump to solar.

Hello, Era of Personal Power! In March, NRG introduced a trial of Portable Power stations at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at NRG Stadium. This new service provides a battery boost for mobile devices to ensure that you’re fully charged and connected while you’re on the go. In April, NRG and Reliant announced a residential solar solution that enables Texas homeowners to generate renewable energy for their homes and take control of electricity reliability and costs.

A solar installation on your home will give you the freedom to generate your own power, help reduce your electric bill and provide you with reliable electricity. The average size of a solar installation leased by NRG in Texas is 7.5 kW, which is expected to generate more than 10,000 kWh in the first year of production.

Leasing a solar panel is more affordable and accessible than ever before, enabling more and more Texans to make the jump to solar. That also puts you squarely on the path of the new future of energy in this country.

Solar is making strong inroads beyond home installations. Just this month, NRG Energy, Inc. announced that it will propose a sustainability package for the newly renamed NRG Park at a future Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation board meeting. This package could include solar panels to help offset the park’s energy costs.

The improvements are part of a larger effort by NRG to bring sustainable power to professional football stadiums throughout the country. With the completion of the NRG Park project, the company will have outfitted six professional football stadiums with sustainable energy solutions.

NRG has been on the ground floor of pioneering solar technology for years now and has become one of the largest developers of solar power in the United States. Recently, NRG worked with Google and BrightSource Energy to flip on the switch at Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal power project able to generate energy for 140,000 California homes.

While big projects like these show our larger capabilities, it is the one-home-at-a-time projects that can make the most significant impact – not only to our customers but also for our communities. Residential solar projects are one piece of an enormous opportunity to embrace this Era of Personal Power.

The time has never been better to choose solar power for your home. Reliant will provide back-up electricity and give you a monthly credit for putting power back onto the grid for other users.

Texans, let’s move beyond the status quo model. Let’s draw on our state’s talent, vast energy expertise and pioneering spirit to not just embrace but lead this new Era of Personal Power. Let’s power up!


Elizabeth Killinger is president of NRG Texas Retail and Reliant.

2014 Reliant Energy Retail Holdings, LLC All rights reserved | 1201 Fannin Street | Houston, TX 77002 | PUC Certificate #10007

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New H-E-B stores in DFW top this week's 5 hottest Dallas headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that listhere.

1. H-E-B continues Dallas expansion with 3 new supermarkets in the suburbs. Texas supermarket chain H-E-B continues its Dallas-Fort Worth expansion, with three new stores in the works. The retailer is opening stores in Melissa, Prosper, and Rockwall. This comes just as the chain opens a new store in Allen.

2. Country's largest hot springs pool complex coming to Grandscape in The Colony. The newest attraction headed to Grandscape in The Colony is a wellness spa-amusement park: WorldSprings, a nine-acre outdoor mineral springs experience, will debut in spring 2024.

3. Award-winning Mexican restaurant hits the jackpot at new location in Denton. A DFW restaurant that's earned national acclaim has opened in Denton: El Rincón del Maiz, previously of Garland, is now located at 1431 E. McKinney St. in Denton where it's winning over locals with its Tex-Mex classics and vegan dishes.

4. New burger joint in McKinney with chef toppers and full bar is a sizzler. McKinney has a new burger joint that is already lighting up the Collin County foodie scene. Called Loyo Burger, it's part of the Local Yocal empire, and is newly opened in downtown McKinney at 216 W. Virginia St. #102.

5. Pickleball-restaurant with chef-level food paddles into Farmers Branch. A new pickleball concept is paddling into Farmers Branch: Called At Fault, it's a pickleball-restaurant facility, opening its first DFW location at 2330 Jett St., in spring 2024.

Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 best new happy hours

Where to Drink

Maybe because it's fall or maybe because we're just lucky, but it's an especially rich time right now for happy hour offerings, with five spots that have either just debuted new happy hours (or are about to debut). There's a chef take at a restaurant-bar on Greenville Avenue; a fun music bar in Bishop Arts; a chance to sneak into a upscale steakhouse in a Dallas high-rise; and a restaurant-bar overlooking a tranquil golf course in Frisco.

Here's five hot new happy hours for our latest installment of Where to Drink:

Quarter Acre
Greenville Avenue restaurant has a new “Garden Hour” happy hour program Tuesday-Friday from 5-6:30 pm on the patio or at the bar, featuring snacks, three for $11, such as the Watermelon Bite, Crispy Pork Belly with avocado whip and sour lime, Half Shell Oyster with kiwi bubbles and rosé mignonette, and Mushroom Croquette with goat cheese. Select cocktails are $8 including the Front Deck Spritz with Aperol, passionfruit, and bubbles; and Bumble Bee’s Knees with Ford’s Gin, honey, and lemon. Three bottles of wine are $40: Pierre Sparr “Brut” Cremant d’Alsace, Mahua Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2022, or Black Cottage Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2021.

Revelers Hall
New Orleans-style bar in Bishop Arts has a new summer happy hour Monday-Friday from 4-7 pm, with good deals: half-price food, $6 wines, $5 well drinks, and $4 beers. They also have live music daily, featuring a variety of genres including jazz, bebop, Cumbia, and Latin jazz. Plus indoor and outdoor seating, and now is the time of year for that.

Ryder Cup Grille
Restaurant-bar at the Omni PGA Frisco Resort — one of 13 restaurants and bars at the resort — has a new happy hour with postcard-worthy views overlooking the Fields Ranch golf courses. It's an early one, running Monday-Friday from 2-5 pm and includes some domestic beers for $6, house wines for $10, and Ranch Water for $13. Food specials include Parmesan fries ($7), a guacamole and salsa flight ($9), chicken tenders with Buffalo sauce, Deep Ellum blue cheese dressing, and ranch ($11), nachos with brisket and refried beans ($12), and Cobb salad ($12).

SER Steak & Spirits
Steakhouse on the 27th floor of the Hilton Anatole has a Social Hour Tuesday-Thursday from 5-6:30 pm with $10 cocktails, $10 wines by the glass. A new bar menu features oysters, beef tartare, and gochujang chicken, priced from $9 to $23. They also have two new cocktails: Fall Berry Bush with tequila, Chambord, lime, rosemary, and sage; and a boozy lemonade with vodka, lavender, dill, lemon juice, and soda water.

Whiskey Cake
A new $7 Social Hour begins September 26, and runs Monday-Friday 3-6 pm with cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Margarita, Daiquiri, and a CYOM (create your own martini) with vodka or gin, clean or dirty, wet or dry, shaken or stirred, with a twist of lemon or olives, all for $7. House wines are also $7 and beers are $5. A menu of bar bites includes Wagyu corn dogs, BBQ spiced pork rinds, and blue cheese kettle chips.

Famous doner kebab restaurant makes Dallas debut with location in Frisco

Kebab News

A big name in doner kebabs is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth: German Doner Kebab, famous for pioneering gourmet doner kebabs in the UK and worldwide, will open its first location in Frisco, at 12025 E. University Dr. #100.

According to a release, it'll open on September 25, with seating for 77, making it the brand’s largest North American restaurant in terms of capacity.

Doner kebabs are a street food, centered on meat cooked on a rotating vertical spit. The name comes from two Turkish words: 'Doner' meaning rotate, and 'Kebap' meaning grilled meat. It's similar to a gyro, but döner meat is made from lamb or pork, while gyros are lamb or chicken.

German Doner Kebab, abbreviated GDK, is known for its distinctive waffle bread, in which the pita-like bread is imprinted with a waffle pattern. The company opened its first restaurant in Berlin in 1989 and is headquartered in Scotland. There are now 100-plus locations across UK, Europe, and the Middle East.

They made their U.S. debut in 2021 and have locations in New Jersey, Astoria, Queens, New York, and Sugar Land, Texas, outside Houston, which opened in 2022.

Their menu features doner kebabs made with toasted waffle bread, halal meat, vegetables, and signature sauces. GDK locations have an open kitchen so you can see the food being prepared to order.

In addition to the waffle bread, you can get the doner as a wrap, a panini, or in quesadilla form. Other items include a burger topped with Doritos and cheese sauce - like chips & salsa on top of doner meat, but all inside a bun; a black bean veggie burger; spring rolls; jalapeno poppers; and fries in a quartet of options including cheese fries, flaming fries, and curry fries.

“Many Americans are familiar with gyro, shawarma, and shish kebabs, however our ‘doner kebabs’ will be a new experience in both taste and format to most," says GDK North America managing director Nigel Belton in a statement.