With gasoline prices so high, the last thing you need is higher electricity bills. Unfortunately, they are here and will be around for the next 5 years. So here are things to do to manage that bill now and in the future.
- Wear comfortable clothing like cotton around the house. Cotton breathes and is the material of choice in the summer,
- Isolate rooms that have southern exposure or are not being used by closing doors and pulling down shades,
- Buy ceiling fans to recirculate hot air that rises and get that cold air off the ground,
- Open the windows at night, turn off the air conditioner and turn on your ceiling fans. You can adjust the blades rotation so that the air blows towards the ceiling.
- If you have a finished basement, consider moving downstairs during the summer where it is generally cooler.
- During the critical peak summer periods (4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, get out of your house altogether and get some exercise. You can keep cool and exercise at shopping malls and enhance your health while saving electricity.
- Use that Bar-B-Q more and do less cooking inside which will only require you to cool your home more.
- Run your clothes washer, dry and dish washer after 8:30 pm or durng non-peak hours of electricity use.
- If you are going to buy a large flat screen TV, look for models that use less electricty. Flat screen TVs can be energy hogs and can really increase your electric bill.
Also be aware that your electronic equipment is also drawing quite a bit of power even when the devices are not in use. Try unplugging them as the video suggests.
Call your utility
- See if your utility offers a free energy audit. You often can save a considerable amount by just making some small changes,
- Call your county and see what grants they offer with respect to weatherizing your home ,
- See what programs your State and the federal government offer that will help pay for weatherization,
- Check your thermostat. If it is not programmable, then buy one that is and learn how to use it,
- Experiment with the thermostat. Try to find a temperature that is ideal for you. Start with 79-80 degrees and program it so that you are not overcooling the house when you are not there.
Remember, that in some parts of the country like Sacramento, each degree of temperature could mean the difference between using a very expensive 400-MW power plant.
- Replace those incandescent bulbs with compact florescent bulbs. They're more efficient and don't produce as much heat.
Contact the Presential Candidates and other politicians
- Contact the Presidential Candidates John McCain and Barak Obama on their blogs and comment on their policy proposals. Tell them that you need the tools to control your electricity costs in the form of Demand Side Management and Smart Metering Programs. Don't forget to ask for energy tax credits and other incentives to make your home more energy efficient.
- Ditto for your member of Congress (House and Senate) and State Public Utility Commission,
- Enroll in a Demand Side Management Program or Smart Metering Program if they're available and you want the ability to take action when electricity prices go higher. This happens at various times during the summer. Your utility may pay you to conserve electricity for certain periods of time. Call your PUC if your utility does not have such a program.
Small businesses and Multi-Family Housing Owners
- Condo associations, cooperative apartment associations and small businesses should consider installing solar panels or wind energy on your building roofs. You may be able to save up to 30 percent of your electricity bill.
Solar panels are warranted about 25 years. So even if it takes 7 years to pay off your investment, you have another 18 years of free energy
- Contact the Presidential candidates, the Governor's office and State PUC and tell them that you are looking for energy grants and tax incentives to allow you to install solar and wind energy on your buildings. Refer them to our articles on solar and wind energy.