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How To Lower Your Power & Electric Utility Bills For Free

Updated on September 9, 2012

So did you just have a heart attack when you got your electric bill in the mail this past month? I have discovered some easy ways to visibly reduce your power bill that won't cost you penny! I have ready many articles with obvious suggestions like turning off the lights, unplugging any unused power adapters and stuff like that, but you already know all those tips and tricks. I have discovered multiple ways to help you lower your bills without shelling out any cash what so ever. I worked for four years at a local power company and what follows is the culmination of my experiences.

Have you ever simply asked for a lower bill?

It sounds crazy, but you would be surprised at their response! If you call your power company odds are they also know it's a tough economic time and lets face it, they really don't want to send someone out to turn you off. It's a pain in the neck for them, and meter readers detest leaving people in the cold and dark. So what can you do? Some companies have an average billing system. When i worked for the power company they called it "bankable billing" meaning that the price would be the same every month, something you could depend on. Not every company has it, but many do. Basically they look at your entire account history and they will average out your bill over the course of a year. Some months it's higher, some it's lower. The idea is that by averaging your bill you should be paying less each month instead of having a few high months, then a few low months. If you're in one of those high month cycles you may see some immediate relief.

Take cold showers!

Ok, I'm somewhat joking with this one, you don't really need to take a cold shower, but there are a few things you can do when it comes to your hot water heater. Now I'll admit there is no better feeling in the world than taking a nice long hot steamy shower and I certainly wouldn't want to deprive any of my readers of that experience either, just be reasonable. If you shorten your steamy scrub down, your hot water heater doesn't need to work as hard to maintain the tank temperature. Alright, thanks Captain Obvious! (You'll be surprised how many people don't realize that fact!) As a side note, what happens all day, every day is that your hot water heater has a nice big tank on it that is keeping all 40 or 50 gallons in your tank at a constant temperature all the time, even when you are not using your hot water. You can also bet that there is some insulation in that tank but it's constantly cooling down and heating back up again. Why not just turn it off? The water will still stay hot, maybe just not hot enough to steam shrimp! All you have to do is literally switch the breaker in your circuit box on and off. I get up every morning at the same time, take a shower, turn my hot water breaker off and I'm off to work. My wife works an alternate shift and wake up around noon or so every day. There is still plenty of water in the tank left for her when she wants it. At night when I'm doing dishes I turn it back on. In addition, all hot water heaters have a temperature setting just like your air conditioning thermostats. Turn it down a few degrees and again, your hot water heater isn't working as hard. Feeling really bold? Turn off all your breakers when you're not home except for your refrigerator. That will ensure any electronics you have aren't sucking up any power in standby mode. Just remember if you do this, your DVR won't record your beloved re runs of Gilligan's Island.

Let your boss foot the bill!

Remember how I told you that I wasn't going to cover the obvious topics as found online? Everyone knows by now to unplug their cell phone chargers from the wall, but then how do you charge your phone? Simple, let your boss charge it for you Maybe not him personally, although I would love to give mine some very detailed instructions on where he could plug the charger for my work phone! Many folks have phone or electronic devices that their company pays for, so why not charge it at work instead of at home? Almost any phone now can be charged via USB, so plug it into your work computer. It will charge your phone and since your computer is on it isn't costing your company any more money than they were already paying. Consider it a perk of working, just don't look for specifics in your employee handbook. Do you have a long commute to work? Charge your phone in your car, you shouldn't be texting and driving any way.

Give the power company ultimate control!

Now I'm not suggesting we let "Skynet" take over or anything, but you would be surprised what incentives your power company will give you for giving them some control of your power consumption. Companies call ti different things from Load Balancing to "On Call", but I'm willing to bet your power company has something similar. Basically the power company give you a discount on your bill if you give the the ability to turn off certain things remotely. Now they don't leave you in the dark or turn off your previous television or anything, just appliances you may not necessarily NEED to have on at any given time. For example, Florida Power & Light give me $7.50 off on my bill each month simply because they have the ability to tun off my hot water heater, air conditioning and or my pool pump. Now there are limitations. For example, they can only turn off my air conditioning for up to an hour at a time, and my hot water heater or pool pump for up to 4 hours. I get this credit monthly, whether they turn them off or not! I have only actually noticed one time when they actually decided to turn off my hot water heater and I have had it installed since March! Not bad for a $90 annual savings huh? When I requested this option, it took about 3 weeks for the power company to install the equipment, and it didn't cost me a thing! It was installed by a local licensed electrician completely free of charge.

Honey I shrunk your dinner!

You know that huge oven you use all the time to heat up your chicken nuggets? There are actually better more cost effective ways to do your cooking. If you have a toaster oven use it! It takes far less energy to heat up your toaster over to 400 degrees than it does to heat up your oven for the same amount of time. In addition with a huge over, you're actually paying to heat up probably your entire kitchen, then to cool it down again with your air conditioning. A toaster oven will cool down much quicker and won't send your power meter spinning out of control. You may laugh at this one, but your oven should never be used as a heater for your home. Believe it or not, this actually happens during bouts of extreme temperatures especially in South Florida. Many of the homes don't actually have heaters or heat pumps, so people open their ovens and crank it to the temperature of the sun. Not a good idea! Not only is is a safety hazard, but it doesn't work as well as you would think, because your oven is designed to keep heat centrally located not circulated throughout your home.

If you do all of these things will the power company owe YOU at the end of the month? Certainly not, but it should help you lower your bill. Remember, your power bill is on a monthly cycle, and in many cases may be estimated if they can't actually get a meter reader out to your property, so don't be discouraged if you don't see immediate results. It takes at least 14 days or so to turn something into a habit, if you're willing to take a few extra steps, it could really save you in the long run!

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    • supermom_in_ny profile image

      supermom_in_ny 6 years ago from NY

      Wow! I never heard about the option to shut off equipment remotely. Love to learn new things. Voted up and useful! ;)

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