Since usage and electricity rates figure into energy bills, lowering both is the best way to reduce what you’re paying each month.
Some tips to cut your usage:
- Close blinds in the summer and open them in the winter. The first keeps the house cooler in the summer, meaning less work for the air conditioning. The second allows the sun to warm the home at least a small amount, again reducing reliance on heating sources (including electricity, particularly in the South).
- Change air filers regularly.
- Use ceiling fans. In winter, set the blades to run in a clockwise direction. Reverse them during summer.
- Unplug when you can. Cellphone and other chargers use electricity whenever they’re plugged in to an outlet – even if they’re not actively charging. TVs and computers also use electricity when they’re plugged in – even if they’re turned off. Power strips can make fighting “vampire energy” easier.
- Wash clothes in cold water.
- Check and reinforce the seals on your windows and doors so you won’t lose cooler air in the summer and heat in the winter.
- Close off unused rooms so you’re not heating or cooling them.
Reducing electricity rates
In many states, there’s not much residents can do to reduce the rate they pay for electricity – utilities have a monopoly on service.
But in states with energy deregulation, consumers can choose their electricity provider, though the electricity will still be delivered by a utility company.
Still, the power to choose a provider gives customers an opportunity to lower their electricity supply rates. Among deregulated states are the following: