Just Another Reason to BBQ

No matter how old, your home appliances use a great deal of electricity. While they are more energy efficient than even 5 or 10 years ago. Even the most energy efficient appliances and electronics account for 20% of the average household energy bill. So, stop using them and fire up the grill.

We have finally shoveled our lawns, many are breaking out the BBQ.     If you haven’t…what are you waiting for? Baseball  and softball season is underway.  The days are  longer.  Do we really need another reason to BBQ?  How about saving money?

For every hour you use your oven  (at 350 degrees) it costs about  .20 cents.    Microwaving those steamed veggies for 2 minutes will add .07 cents to your power bill.     Boiling water on your electric stove top will set you back  .11 cents. By using the convection oven for 30 minutes will add a whopping .10 cents to your power bill.

No matter how old, your home appliances use a great deal of electricity. While they are more energy efficient than even 5 or 10 years ago.  Even the most energy efficient appliances and electronics account for 20% of the average household energy bill.

Get out of the kitchen and instead use the grill.     Unless you are a gourmet,  everything tastes better on the grill.  In addition even grilling is getting greener.

There has been considerable debate about which is “greener” charcoal or propane for grilling.      Energy efficient grills are all the rage.  Which ever your preference (charcoal or propane),  using  grills that retain the most heat will reduce how much fuel you have to use.    Consider  a ceramic grill-check out the Grilldome!

There are even a host of environmentally friendly  BBQ briquettes available.     Try coconut briquettes or natural wood briquettes.

What ever your  choice of fuel for grilling, after this long, cold winter, we deserve a good BBQ.  Our spring and summer is too short to not take advantage of  all the outside family time we can get.  So enjoy.

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Clarity & Transparency On Your Electric Bill

ENH Power built its customer base of nearly 47,000 customers by exceeding industry norms and expectations. We encourage any review of legislation that makes it clear what is expected of suppl

New Hampshire lawmakers are undertaking an effort to make electric bills easier to understand and bring increased clarity and transparency.  SB 170 would require the PUC to redesign the billing format for residential electric bills and the PUC website.   As outlined in a recent article in the New Hampshire Union Leader, proposed changes include but are not limited to:

*Include the term and expiration date of the rate

*include the term and expiration date of the rate

*the cancellation fee, if one applies

*People buying a variable rate from a competitive supplier would have to be notified on their bill of the fact that they purchased a variable rate

*The same bill would have to inform the consumer of the default service rate offered by the regulated utility

At ENH Powwer we are still reviewing some of the specifics of the proposed legislation, including long term impact especially in the areas of technology.

As far as rate transparency and educating about energy choice, ENH Power built its customer base of nearly 47,000 customers by exceeding industry norms and expectations. We encourage any review of legislation that makes it clear what is expected of supply companies, utilities and consumers.

In other states in which we do business, including Maine as Electricity Maine and Massachusetts as Provider Power Mass, where we have a combined 150,000 additional customers, we have been vocal about our support for rule changes that balances the rights of consumers with the ability of reputable electricity supply companies to be competitive.

To learn more about the Provider Power family of companies and our company history and commitment to New England, please visit www.providerpower.com

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Windows Are Responsible for 50% of heat loss.

Seeping around your windows is responsible for 50% of a homes heat loss. There are some things you can do to mitigate this problem.

The U.S. Department of Energy research suggests older homes lose as much as 50% of their heat loss (energy costs) due to seepage around windows.    This isn’t a result of poor construction, instead due to settling of older homes on their foundation and contraction/expansion during weather changes.

While there are many financial benefits to changing out our windows, the costs can still be prohibitive.  Fortunately-we do have options.  Some can actually be quite stylish!

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Lack of Nat Gas Pipelines Equals Higher Electric Utility Rates

Energy and business writer for Forbes.com, James Conca, has a reputation for carefully and with appropriate detail covering U.S. energy issues.  His December 17th piece Pipeline And Nuclear Shortages Send New England’s Utility Bills Soaring is among his strongest.

Accompanying his piece is this graphic that depicts natural gas pipeline infrastructure across the county.  Those who understand the basic laws of supply and demand can easily understand how parts of New England are so far behind other parts of the U.S. (in terms of the availability of nat gas) and why electric utilities here are so susceptible to fluctuations in the energy market.

Consumers interested in saving on their electric bill often see competitive supply companies as a good alternative to the utility default or stand offer.  Due to sophisticated buying practices, and being able to look over longer periods of time ,like 12 or 24 months (many utilities look at pricing only for 6 months at a time), consumers benefit from shopping the market.

Since many electric utilities are owned by large national or multi-national companies, using an electricity supply company also enables consumers to shop locally with a businesses in their own state or region.  Doing so has the added benefit of supporting local jobs and community.

 

 

 

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Can Changing To LEDs Pay for College?

Using LED lightbulbs can save you money. How much? Switch all the bulbs in your home to LEDs, in 18 years save almost $7- thousand dollars. Perhaps not enough to pay for college, but enough to pay for books?

OK.  Perhaps you won’t save enough money to pay for your kids’ college tuition, but changing out all the lights in your home to LEDs can save you a good hunk of cash.  What other investment can you get that kind of return?

The United States Department of Energy is a great resource for all things LED, including changes to technology, energy savings, and available products.  For more visit www.energy.gov

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What Does It Mean To Be Energy Literate?

A survey conducted by the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation (NEETF) found that only 12% of young adults could pass a basic energy quiz. The same survey revealed that most of us overestimate our knowledge of energy. Where does electricity come from and how is it produced? What is the difference between a utility and a supply company? What drives the cost of electricity? How much energy do you use in a day, month, or year? If you can answer those questions, you are ahead of the curve.

The following piece was written by Will Fessenden, Provider Power’s director of content & media, and was published in the November edition of Bangor Metro Magazine’s “Energy Section”.

Where does electricity come from and how is it produced? What is the difference between a utility and a supply company? What drives the cost of electricity? How much energy do you use in a day, month, or year? If you can answer those questions, you are ahead of the curve.

A survey conducted by the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation (NEETF) found that only 12% of young adults could pass a basic energy quiz. The same survey revealed that most of us overestimate our knowledge of energy.

Few would disagree that everything revolves around energy. Look around you. Our ability to produce the stuff we buy—the food we eat, the water and oil we take from the ground, the computer screen you are reading this on, all of these require energy.

In spite of its importance, few of us truly understand energy; many American’s don’t even care. According to a University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll conducted in March of 2014, less than 70% of Americans “consider energy issues important.”

Fortunately there are efforts underway to reverse course. This involves education and engagement.  The United States Department of Energy has developed an energy literacy framework. Parents and educators can access tools, lesson plans, and resources focused on 7 “essential principals” of energy.

The Department of Energy defines an energy literate person as someone who can: trace energy flows, knows how much energy they use (and where the energy comes from), can assess the credibility of information about energy and communicate about energy use in meaningful ways.

Closer to home there is a much more hands-on approach to educating about energy.

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s “PowerHouse” program includes working with smart electrical meters (already available in some Maine households) to enable Maine students and their families to investigate and manage home electricity use.  Students review their household electricity use on an hourly, daily, monthly and yearly basis. They then participate in family discussion about energy use at home.

This premise is a very simple one. Use technology to measure and document energy use, and make desired changes based on available data.

The energy crisis of the 1970’s led to a School House Rock cartoon titled “Electricity-Electricity.”

You may remember the lyrics, “Burning fuel and using steam, they generate electricity-electricity. Turn that generator by any means…You’re making, uh…electricity, electricity.”

Some of the nation’s leading energy researchers have called for a greater investment in educating, or at least engaging young people about energy.

President Obama sought the assistance of Hollywood a advertising agency to produce a series of YouTube-style videos designed to highlight the role energy plays in our everyday lives. The project failed to get enough support.

In order to make informed decisions about energy efficiency, renewable energy solutions, energy production and research, we need a higher level of energy literacy.

Without a greater understanding of energy and electricity, history is bound to repeat itself.  Few of us want a repeat of the 1970’s with an energy shortage.  Greater energy literacy means we will be better suited to respond to fluctuations in the market and how to mitigate the effects of those changes.

Hopefully we will not need what they called for in the School House Rock video, “if we only had a superhero who could stand here and turn the generator real fast, then we wouldn’t need to burn so much fuel to make . . . electricity.”

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4 Ways Natural Gas is Impacting Electricity Prices This Winter

It is a matter of supply and demand. Many electricity generating plants in the north east are reliant upon natural gas. When natural gas supply is lower, electricity costs go up.

The Conservation Law Foundation has done an admirable job of explaining the root causes of recent electricity rate increases across much of Northern New England.  Part of their argument is  that “the real problem isn’t a major deficit of pipeline capacity, but a failure to deal adequately with the increased use of natural gas for power generation.”

Here are 4 (relatively) easy to understand ways in which natural gas is impacting electricity prices.

  1. We now use a lot of natural gas for power generation in New England, which helped modernize the system by moving us away from old, polluting, and inefficient sources like coal and oil. Because of this, and the way the regional grid’s electric market works, natural gas prices now generally set the price for electricity in New England.
  2. Unlike natural gas utilities that supply homes and businesses with gas for heating, which buy gas on long-term “firm” contracts that guarantee access to gas, the companies that own natural gas power plants typically buy cheaper “interruptible” contracts because there isn’t currently a mechanism that allows them to pass-through the additional costs of buying firm supply.
  3. In the winter time, people are often turning on the heat at the same time that they are turning on the lights, so the system experiences high demands on gas for both uses in the mornings and afternoons. These “coincident” demands led to price spikes between 10-42 days in each of the last winters, and retail electric prices are now catching up as the market is expecting a repeat of last winter’s high prices.
  4. Now that natural gas makes up so much of the electricity we use, the volatility of gas prices has a bigger impact on electric prices and leads to higher rates. We have been far too slow in deploying demand-reducing energy efficiency measures in homes and businesses and in increasing the amounts of local renewable energy on the system, both of which would help reduce market prices for electricity and protect us from volatile gas prices.

This information is part of a longer blog article published by the Conservation Law Foundation on October 3, 2014.

 

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The Value of Conservation

Some may question the benefits of energy conservation.  Many argue how can the little things I do at home really make a difference?   This graphic should help to bring it all home.

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