CategoryElectric

Some Effective and Easy to Implement Tips to Save Electricity!

Advancements in the technology and designing of various equipment has increased electricity consumption drastically. The growing population is another reason for increased electricity consumption. To enable future generations to utilize electricity, it is essential to conserve electricity right from now. Electricity saved today is the electricity produced tomorrow. This article presents some effective and easy to implement tips to save electricity.

* High wattage bulbs consume more power than lower wattage bulbs. Hence, to save energy, shift to CFL bulbs. For example, a 40-watt bulb uses 1 unit of power after 25 hours of usage. But a 10-watt CFL bulb can be used 100 hours with the same 1 unit of power.

* The same is case with fans. Use 50-watt fans instead of 75-watt fans.

* Whenever you are out of the room, remember to switch off the fans and lights.

* Conserve electricity by increasing the usage of sunlight. Keep the doors and windows open during the day. This will increase the light as well as improve the air flow.

* Air-conditioners should be switched-off within half an hour of leaving the place.

* Accumulation of dust over the lamps reduces the intensity of the light. This, in turn, forces you to use more lamps or higher wattage lamps for more light that consume more electricity. Hence, save electricity by keeping the lights clean.

* Mercury vapor lamps save energy compared to sodium vapor lamp.

* Escalators and elevators also consume more electricity. Save electricity as well as improve your health by using the steps instead of elevators.

* Increase the use of natural energy, i.e. solar energy. Encourage the installation of solar energy equipments in all construction, especially offices and other commercial places where electricity consumption is very high.

* Another tip to save electricity as well as your eyesight is reducing the extent of watching television. Make it a habit to switch off the main power supply to the television rather than using the remote to switch off the TV. Reducing the extent of watching television saves you from diseases such as obesity.

* A simple tip to save electricity is drying clothes in bright sun light rather than using electric dryers.

* Reduce the usage of electric cookers and ovens for cooking food. Consider using pressure cookers and natural pipe gas for cooking purposes to save electricity.

* Effective usage of the refrigerator is possible by avoiding frequent opening of the door and by defrosting the freezer regularly.

* Reduce the extent of water heater usage to the maximum extent by planning all your needs appropriately; i.e., all the family members should take baths in quick succession rather than taking long intervals.

* Another effective tip to save energy is planning all the work in the daytime. This will reduce the usage of light in the evening. So cultivate the habit of getting up early and going to bed early. This will also improve your health.

From the above discussion, it can be seen that to save electricity means to save health, money and even nature. Increased usage of electricity liberates more heat from the equipment. Hence, by reducing the electricity used, it is possible to reduce the amount of heat released into the atmosphere and save nature.

Electric Companies, Six Important Items to Look For When Choosing a Company

Electricity in Texas is supplied by a selection of electric companies, all of which are watched over by the Texan Public Utility Commission. If you live in Texas then you have the opportunity to choose which electric company you want to use. This allows you to make sure you are getting the best possible service, for the best price.

Texas is one of the most deregulated states in our country. This means that electric companies have the opportunity to serve the deregulated areas of Texas. The steps described in this article only work in Texas. Currently, most other states do not allow their citizens to choose which electric company they would like to use. Hopefully that will change soon.

Since you can choose who you want to provide your electricity in Texas, it pays to shop around. It is often possible to save money on electric bills by switching to a different electricity provider.

First, if you are trying to choose an electricity company in Texas then you should begin by finding out which suppliers are available by searching the web for “cheap Texas electricity” or similar type search phrases. You should then compare the services and payment plans that the different sites have to offer.

Second, many companies are looking to pick up new customers and they are well aware that Texans will be looking around for the best deal. This means that there are often offers available to new customers who are changing their electricity provider. Some of these deals are a great value, but you should always check what you would be expected to pay once any offer has finished by reading the electricity facts label.

Third, when you are choosing a payment plan, you should think carefully about what you are getting. You can choose a fixed rate plan, which will stay the same throughout your contract, or a variable rate plan, where the amount that you are paying will change depending on what is happening in the electricity market. A fixed rate provides more security, but a variable rate could be cheaper if electricity costs go down. If the price of electricity rises, however, you will be paying the higher price on a variable rate plan, but saving money if you have fixed your price.

Fourth, before you sign a contract, you should check whether there are any hidden costs, such as deposits or fees. You can find these fees on the electricity facts label.

Fifth, you should also make sure that you know how long you will be expected to stay with the company. How long will your contract be? Some agreements are for as long as three years.

Sixth, other considerations when choosing an electricity company are the reliability of the provider, the extra services that they provide (such as maintaining your air-conditioning or a reward program) and the sources of the energy they use. Some companies guarantee that their electricity will come mainly from renewable sources.

Sticking with the same electricity provider may seem to be easier. It doesn’t take any effort on your part to simply keep on paying the bills as they come in. If you do take the time to compare some different companies, you could make some substantial savings on your bills.

Switching your electricity supplier is actually a very straightforward process. In Texas, it’s handled by the companies involved in such a way that you will never experience a break in your electricity supply. The only impact the change will have on you is on your bills.

There are websites that can compare the prices of different electricity suppliers. You will usually be asked for your zip code, so that you can be shown only what is available in your area. You can also visit the websites of individual electric companies to find out in detail about their price plans.

By following the simple steps outlined above and reading the electricity facts label, you should be able to save money and choose the correct electric company for your property.

Choose Your Own Electricity Providers With Electric Deregulation

The debate over electric deregulation has been continuing for over 20 years and has affected many of our nation’s electricity producers and buyers. With the enforcement of deregulation, consumers will be able to “shop around” for electricity and pursue a product that is appropriate for them and their electrical needs. The creation of new energy technology has thrown the electricity industry for a loop and has provided a place for a new market to begin to grow.

Public utility companies brought with it the problem of electricity’s distribution methods and it’s cost. Because of its monopoly status, electricity companies were free to charge whatever they wanted for their commodity. Other commodities like telephone service and the banking industry have been forced to compete since their creation. Since electricity providers haven’t had to, their consumers were stuck paying whatever the electricity companies demanded, even if they couldn’t afford it. Without regulations to keep the electricity monopoly in check, its natural economics were skewed and it became dominant in its field. Because of deregulation, Americans are now able to shop around for electric companies that fir their specific needs. Without the blanket price that previous electrical providers have charged, more individualized service plans have become available for America.

When it first came into being, the regulated electricity industry was a complete and all-encompassing monopoly. Only the boundaries installed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, electricity providers were free to charge whatever they wanted in their section of land. This problem brought around the debate over deregulation. However, when it was first implicated, it was unsuccessful. People remained with their current power companies, not wanting to switch to a brand new company that had no dependability. The new companies didn’t stand a chance against the giant monopolies, and consumers were hesitant to spend their money on them. The monopolies were seemingly unaffected, they retained their former customer base and they were not about to hand over to the new electricity companies. However, this quickly began to change.

Deregulation has allowed people to shop around and discover for themselves their best electricity value. The new market for more environmentally friendly, “greener” energy sources has forced the electricity companies to adapt. People are installing solar panels and other renewable electricity generators, effectively changing their lifestyle and their electrical needs. The promise of a lower energy bill and tax exemptions offered by the government are encouraging people to take their electricity matters into their own hands, the former electrical monopolies are facing new competition, creating a supply and demand atmosphere that the previously dominated market lacked.

Electric Cars

If I charge up an electric vehicle, won’t I be simply transferring my pollution to a power station?

Yes! You will, but fortunately not nearly as much. Even though there is a loss of electricity between the power station and your home, it is still vastly more efficient to power an electric car. The Tesla roadster is a US based electric sports car which is about 10 times more energy efficient that its equally performing combustion driven sports car rivals.

Why? how can electric cars use less energy?

Through regenerative breaking, electric car batteries are charged every time the car slows to a stop for an intersection or traffic lights (which is quite often during city driving). An electric car does not use fuel when stationary which can be the case in peak hour traffic congestion. The electric motor itself is many times more efficient as it involves a single rotating part with very minimal frictional and heat losses. A petrol powered motor uses small explosions to drive pistons and a crank shaft. The heat loss in a combustion engine is very high. Through economies of scale, combustion in a power plant makes very effective use of heat to drive turbines and recapture waste heat.

Presently most electric cars will have to make do with available infrastructure, however solar PV can be added to the roofs of your home, workplace and carparks in order to give you 100% environmentally friendly energy. You will be essentially driving your car off the sun and contributing to a green sustainable friendly future.

Are electric cars slow?

There are several electric cars on the market which have certainly disproved this myth. Have a look for information on the Tesla and you will see that this consumer level vehicle can do 0-100 in only a few seconds rivalling the performance of a Lamborghini. Now these high end electric sports cars are priced at a premium, however they certainly show that electric vehicles do not have to be slow. In fact electric vehicles have instant torque from the moment you put your foot down, therefore offer incredible off the mark acceleration capabilities. Of course there are also the very cheap ‘golf buggy’ style electric vehicles which are fine for getting from A to B and are considerably cheaper to purchase, however not all EV’s are the same.

How much will it cost to run my electric car?

Not much at all thankfully! The fuel for an electric vehicle is very cheap, or in many cases free. A number of charge points in various cities around the world have offered free electricity to electric vehicle owners in order to research driving habits. Other companies have offered free recharge points as an incentive to park at their cafe/restaurant/shopping mall for the 20-30 minutes it takes to recharge your car. If you were spending 50 a week on fuel, then you may spend at most 5 if you purchase an electric vehicle.

Over 10-20 years, the premium on purchasing an electric vehicle often pays itself off through reduced fuel costs. Of course electric vehicle battery technology is improving constantly as is the price of petrol and diesel increasing, so our payback period for the initial investment is actually decreasing as we speak.

Through vehicle to grid (V2G) technology, the local electricity provider can ‘borrow’ some of your battery charge during critical peak demand periods and pay you money for that energy. In some schemes this will pay for your electricity in low periods and you will essentially have free fuel!

What is the range like on electric vehicles? What if I run out of electricity… will I get stranded?

Range is one of the main qualms of electric vehicle owners. Some have a range of around 200 miles, but still need to be recharged for about 30 minutes in order to continue on their journey. There are some options including recharge points, or even small generators in the car boot or a small connected trailer which can combat these fall backs however. There are some exciting technologies on their way including the lithium nickel battery and lithium air battery which both have potential energy densities of about 3 times that of lithium ion batteries. This will double or even triple mileage down the track without increasing the weight of the vehicle.

Should I buy an electric vehicle?

Yes! if you have the money, make the investment and join thousands of satisfied electric vehicle owners around the country. Technology is ever increasing and soon with petrol prices rising there will be real urgency to get on board the electric vehicle band wagon. There is also a heap of other information from DIY conversion enthusiasts and electric vehicle owners worldwide which it is worth checking before making your informed decision.

Some Benefits You Stand to Get by Opting For a Prepaid Electricity Supply Regime

Before venturing to discuss some of the benefits you stand to get by opting for a prepaid electricity supply regime, it would be a good idea to briefly acquaint ourselves with the concept of prepaid electricity; for the benefit of those who may be coming across it for their very first time. Simply put, in a prepaid electricity supply regime, you pay for your electricity before you get to use it.

Normally, the system (at a domestic level) is based on a ‘smart meter’ system. The way it works is that you ‘purchase some electricity’ by way of buying a scratch card bearing a number which, upon being fed into the smart meter, procures you a number of kilowatt-hours. This is very much like the way a scratch card number, fed to your prepaid mobile phone system, procures a number of minutes of ‘talk-time’ on the phone. You then expend the kilowatt hours you so procure, and once you get the feeling that they are almost running out, you purchase some more.

We talk of prepaid electricity supply as opposed to the traditional postpaid electricity supply system, where you would use electricity for a given period of time, have a meter-reader come to your house and take note of your electricity usage, before being sent an electricity usage bill, which you could then repay.

In some countries, electricity users have the option of either using the prepaid or the postpaid system. Finding yourself in such a situation, you could end up being spoilt for choice. And to help you eventually make a decision on which way to go (prepaid or postpaid), here are some of the benefits you stand to gain, by opting for prepaid electricity supply regime.

1. You gain a way of controlling your electricity expenditure: one of the most commonly voiced disadvantages of the postpaid electricity supply regime is that it robs users of control over their electricity expenditure. That way, you end up using electricity blindly, sometimes overspending unawares – only to be slapped with a hefty bill at the end of the month. In a prepaid electricity supply regime, you get a way to keep day to day tabs on your electricity usage, and to be able to see -at a glance when you are overspending on electricity and put in place instant corrective measures.

2. You get to avoid the often heavy penalties levied for late electric bill repayment: most users of postpaid electricity end up, soon or later, having to suffer penalties for late payment of electricity bills. These are penalties you completely insure yourself from, by opting for prepaid electricity supply. The only penalty you could suffer, in a prepaid electricity supply system, if you don’t recharge your supply in good time, is that of being cut off from the grid. You don’t, however, suffer any monetary penalties.

3. You get to avoid the potential security risks posed by meter readers: in jurisdictions where postpaid electricity supply regimes reign, the working of the system usually depends on electric meter readers being sent to the electricity users’ houses, to read their meters. Sometimes, these meter readers have been known to abuse their privileged access to premises to perpetrate crimes, or to obtain ‘intelligence’ information for future perpetration of crimes. But prepaid electricity supply regimes do away with the need for meter readers, and the potential risks posed by some of them, as the (prepaid) system is completely automated.

Understanding the Concept of No Deposit Electricity Supply

Going through the Internet, you may have come across the concept of no deposit electrical energy. And being relatively new to these matters, you may have found yourself wondering as to what it really is, leading you to get into the research mode to find out more about it. It is that research that could have led you to this discussion, where we are trying to find out more about the workings of no deposit electricity.

Now if you are to understand the concept of no deposit electrical energy supply, it will be taken for granted that you already know that electricity is one thing that people have to pay for. There is virtually no way you can get electrical energy for free. Of course, this sounds like too obvious stuff for people who have been running households for some time. But for someone who has never run a household, and who just sees electricity (or rather its effects) everyday, there may be no way of knowing that it comes at a cost. But it sure does. The companies that generate and distribute electrical energy expect payment for the product, and they are usually quite keen on getting such payment in a timely manner; if one is to remain on the electricity supply grid.

Traditionally, people paid for electrical energy after having used it. The reasoning behind this was that there was no way one could determine how much electricity they were likely to use in advance, hence the need for a system where users would pay after using electrical energy. But in such a system, there was always a possibility of someone using electricity, say for a month, and then being unable to pay for it. In fact, this happened often, leading many electrical energy supply companies into major losses. It led to a need for a system that would ensure that the electricity supply companies would not run into major losses, in the event of customers being unable to pay for their electrical energy. The solution that was devised was the electricity supply deposit. The way it worked was such that you paid a deposit to the electrical energy supply company with your application for electricity supply. In the event that you were unable to pay for your last month’s electrical energy supply, this is the money that the electricity supply company would pocket, and pay itself.

The recent days have, however, given rise to the no deposit electricity schemes previously alluded to. In these schemes, you don’t pay any deposit to the electricity supply company.

These no deposit electricity schemes tend to be born of the prepaid electricity supply schemes. In a prepaid electricity supply scheme, you pay for your electricity units before you get to use them. Typically, you buy a card bearing the electricity units (in logical form), feed the number on it into your (smart) electricity meter, and thereby get to access the electricity units therein. In this system, the electricity supply company is at no risk of your running away with their money. They therefore need not demand a deposit from you – hence the name ‘no deposit electricity.’

Experience the Benefits of Prepaid Electricity

Prepaid electricity is not a typical type of electrical service. Prepaid-electricity works in that a person will be able to buy one’s electricity before it is used. This is useful for a number of different reasons.

The first thing to take a look at is that there are no fees involved with prepaid-electricity. The only costs that are going to be involved are costs that relate to getting the specific amount of electricity that one is looking to get.

Next there is the fact that there will be no surprises involved with regards to getting a bill. A problem with traditional electricity is that it is something that can be too expensive for some people to get. The sticker shock that can come about from one’s electrical bill can be too great. A person who uses prepaid-electricity will not have to deal with this concern. The person will instead know what one is getting and will be able to easily expect what is going on.

Another thing comes from how a person who uses prepaid-electricity will be able to keep from spending too much electricity. A good thing to see is that the average person who gets prepaid electricity will be able to do more to conserve one’s electrical use. This is great for economic and environmental purposes. Using less electricity can help to get fewer natural resources to be used while it can also work to ensure that a person’s electricity is not going to be used up too quickly.

A good thing about this benefit of prepaid-electricity is that a person will know what one is getting into. This can be used as a guideline with regards to how much electricity one can work with for a certain period of time.

The last benefit is that there are no sudden worries to see with regards to flat rates. A problem with some electrical plans is that they work with flat rates that charge minimums to people. This is regardless of how much money is being spent on prepaid-electricity. A prepaid-electrical plan will work to at least keep a person from having to deal with any of these fees. This is especially valuable for those who do not use as much electricity as others.

All of these benefits of prepaid electricity are great benefits for anyone to take a look at. Prepaid-electricity is a service that works without the use of expensive bills or costs. It will work to instead allow a person to save money and at the same time allow a person to be able to use less energy than what one would be handling through a standard electrical plan.

The Concept of Electricity Made Easy

Most of us use electricity on a day to day basis. In fact, that should be rephrased to ‘moment to moment basis’ seeing just how much the various electric appliances have become a completely integral part of our lives. When we talk of electricity, we don’t just mean that which comes from the mains power supply. We are also talking about that which comes from batteries, you know, like that which you use on your shaving machine in the morning, or that which you use on your mobile phone every time you call someone or write a text message. Chances are that you if you reading this anywhere, you are using electricity, in whatever appliance, to do so.

But while so many of us use electricity on a moment to moment basis, very few of us bother to find out what, exactly, electricity is. Sure, some of us do find ourselves occasionally wondering on what electricity is, but very few actually bother to go a step further and find out the answers to that question. It doesn’t help that most of our education systems are designed in such a way that kids specialize too early, so that many of them never go far enough as studying something as fundamental as electricity in their elementary and high school physics. The end result is a society which is completely ignorant when it comes to basics of electricity.

So what, exactly, is electricity?

Well, simply put, electricity is a form of energy. It originates from the flow of electrically charged sub-atomic particulates, specifically the ones known as electrons. Electrons are among the components that go into the making of atoms; the atoms being the particles out of which all things are made. It is that flow of electric charge that results in the force through which electricity does the various things it is tasked to do.

In order for the flow to take place, one of the points in the system needs to have more of the electrons than the other point. This is analogous to the situation we see in the flow of water, where, in order for the flow to take place, one point need to be higher than the other, so that the water can flow along the slope thence created. When there is a similar difference in electrons, which makes it possible for them to flow, we end up with that which is described as an electricity potential. This is measure in volts. The phenomenon is best observed in electric batteries, which usually start with a high voltage measure – to indicate a high electric potential, because when a battery is new (or newly charged, for the rechargeable variety), one point has very many electrons, and the other point very few- making it possible for the electrons to flow from the point that is rich in them toward the point that is poor in them, thence creating a force which can be harnessed and put to various uses.

Various forms of energy can be converted into electricity, though electricity (being a form of energy) cannot be created out of nowhere. Wherever we see electricity being produced, we know that it is some other form of energy that is being converted into electric energy – and definitely not electric energy being created. It is about conversion, not about creation. In hydro-electric power plants, it is the kinetic energy inherent in the flowing water that is converted into electric energy. In nuclear power plants, it is the energy produced pursuant to nuclear reactions that is converted into electric energy and harnessed for various purposes. At the lowest level, it is the energy produced pursuant to chemical reactions in batteries that is subsequently converted into electrical energy, and harnessed to power the various appliances.

In all these situations, the whole thing is about the energy so produced being used to force the flow of electrons in various things (for instance, the electrical conducting wires), with the flow of electrons creating the force we know as electricity.

The Cost Advantages of Prepaid Electricity

We start with an assumption that everyone should, by now, be conversant with the workings of prepaid electricity. But just to ensure that nobody is left out, we could mention in passing that a prepaid electricity system is one where electricity users pay for electricity before actually getting to use it. They first pay for the electricity, and then make use of it – in much the same way that people usually first pay for their sugar or salt before making use of it. This is, of course, in contrast to the traditional electricity billing system, where people only get to pay for their electricity after having used it.

The exact workings of electricity vary from one implementation to another. In most cases though, it works through a voucher system, where electricity users purchase a voucher bearing a number which they then proceed to feed into the prepaid electricity meters, thereby procuring a number of electricity power units commensurate with the value of their vouchers. It is this electricity that they are then supposed to make use of, and ensure that they purchase more units of before they run out of the ones so loaded. The consequence of not purchasing more units (or ‘recharging’ as it is often referred to) would be a situation where the user eventually gets disconnected from the power grid.

This electricity system has proved to be very popular, with many people opting for it over the traditional postpaid system on the first opportunity to do so. So strong has this trend been that many power distribution companies have been forced to eventually phase out the traditional postpaid power systems in favor of the prepaid electricity systems. The electricity companies, on their parts, have also done nothing to hide their partiality to these prepaid electricity regimes.

As it turns out, the greatest motivation for this gravitation towards electricity systems is the cost advantages associated with such prepaid electricity. These are not things that can be taken lightly. There are cost advantages, significant ones, both on the user and power distributor side.

On the user’s side, we see the fact that the electricity systems make possible full control over electricity expenditure being a great attraction. People always felt that the traditional system for electricity billing tended to rob them of control over their electricity expenditure, and it comes as a great relief for them to have a system through which they have complete control over such expenditure. On the user’s side too, the prepaid electricity system comes with a considerable cost advantage. There is also the fact that prepaid electricity shields the users from the penalties that tend to arise out of late bill payments as another great attraction on the users’ side. These penalties for late payment of bills are penalties that virtually everybody on a postpaid electricity system is bound to suffer from at one time or another, seeing the logistics involved in bill payments. And talking of the actual payments, we see the electricity system being a system where payments are virtually free (it is just a matter of buying ready-made vouchers). This is not the case with postpaid electricity, where payments always come at a cost: whether that is by way of fares to the electricity company’s premises where one can make the payment, or the costs of sending checks (or doing electronic funds transfers) to the companies. Granted, these tend to be small costs, but in the long run, they can accumulate to substantial amounts; which one gets to avoid altogether by opting for prepaid electricity.

The Workings of Prepaid Electricity Explained

When most people hear about the possibility of being hooked onto a prepaid electricity system for the very first time, they tend to be very skeptical about the idea. Indeed, if they are hearing about that possibility from a non-authoritative source (say from a friend), most people tend to dispute it outright. You can’t blame them: coming from a situation where electricity has always been paid for after usage, it takes a certain degree of creative thinking to visualize a situation where electricity would be paid for before use. It is hard to think of how the system would work.

But upon hearing about the possibility of being put on a prepaid electricity billing regime from a more authoritative source, one is bound to believe it (on account of the strength of the authority), but be left with questions on how exactly the system works. It is from such a background that one could find himself or herself getting online and conducting the type of research that leads them to a discussion like this.

So, how exactly does prepaid electricity work?

Well, there are two points from which we can study the workings of prepaid electricity. The first is what would be referred to as the ‘superficial level’ or the ‘user side.’ What happens on the user side is quite easy to understand; especially if you have had the occasion to use a prepaid mobile phone – where you purchase scratch cards bearing specially generated digits, which you then proceed to feed on the phone, to procure you certain amounts of talk-time on the phone network. In prepaid electricity, you purchase similar cards, which reveal a number that you then proceed to feed to the electricity meter using a special dial, thereby procuring yourself a given number of electricity units. These are the electricity units you make use of, and renew (by purchasing another card) when you feel that you are likely to be running low. In the simplest terms, the prepaid electricity billing regime comes with provisions for paying for electricity usage before actually making use of the electricity.

At a deeper level (that is, from the electricity supplier side), the working of the prepaid electricity system is usually hinged on special computer programs, based on the servers of the electricity supply companies. Mostly, these are software programs created using object oriented programming and machine language. They are able to take cognizance of electricity purchases made whenever the scratch card numbers are fed, and to precisely monitor the eventual usage of the electricity so purchased, and eventually disconnect the users when they run out of units before recharging. So, in a nutshell, we can say that the workings of prepaid electricity are hinged upon the software backbone behind the system.

Of course, there are some jurisdictions where there are no provisions for making electricity purchases through scratch cards, but where users pay for electricity, in advance, directly to the offices of electricity supply companies. In situations like these, the users may be told that a payment of so many dollars would purchase them so many days on the grid, upon whose expiry they are to be disconnected if they don’t make further payments. These arrangements are common among small electricity distributors, working with customers in the localities where they are based. And even here, there tends to be need for software to monitor the dates when electricity is ‘purchased’ and the progress towards the dates when the connections are to expire. Most of these software programs are configured to tell the users when that the expiry date is close at hand; so that they can make payment renewals to avoid rude disconnections from the system.