Look How You Can Reduce Your Electric Bill During This Pandemic

Staying home almost every hour of the day has been a dramatic lifestyle change for most Americans. Now that we’ve been social distancing for more than a month some people are noticing a change in their utility bills as well.

Being at home more inevitably means more energy will be used than normal. How much more is used is the question. There are a number of things you can do to reduce use and possibly even lower your electricity bill during the current pandemic. Here’s how.

Time Your Energy Use Right

More and more electricity providers are offering a time-of-use plan that set different rates for different hours of the day. The goal is to get people to use energy less during peak hours by making the off-peak hours cheaper.

Most time of use plans is broken into 3-4 time blocks. The lowest rates are generally after midnight until 6 am. The most expensive hours are from around 3 pm to 7 pm. The more you can minimize energy use during the middle of the day the lower your electricity bill will be. 

Smart devices and appliances can help you time things right. Whenever possible set schedules for electronics like the dishwasher to turn on. A programmable thermostat can also help you reduce the amount of electricity needed to keep your house comfortable.

Another thing you can do to time energy use for maximum efficiency is to avoid using the stove, burners, and toaster oven during the middle of the day when it’s the hottest. These appliances will make it feel hotter inside and tempt you to lower the AC. 

Shift Your Sleep/Wake Schedule

Working from home comes with a few benefits. For one, you’ve got more control over your daily schedule. You have the flexibility to shift your sleep schedule so that you’re awake an extra hour or so when it’s sunny outside. 

Of course, if you’re on a time of use plan staying awake an hour later in the evening might actually be more cost-effective because rates typically drop after 9 pm. It all depends on your energy use habits and the variable rates. After crunching the numbers you should be able to find a schedule that minimizes electricity costs. 

Go Out in Your Yard or Patio More

Needless to say, getting outdoors will lighten the energy load. If you have a yard or patio that allows you to keep at least 6’ from others try to get outside for an hour or two every day. 

While you’re outside considering breaking out the grill. It’s the most energy-efficient cooking apparatus that requires zero electricity. 

Those who live in an area where trails have opened back up can venture a little further for more energy-free fun and exercise. Just remember to bring a mask, practice social distancing and try not to touch things along the path. 

Light Up the Night With Solar Power

You can extend the outdoor entertainment and lower your energy bill even more by using solar lights around the deck or patio. A set of 4+ solar lights should provide enough illumination to use the outdoor space after the sun goes down. 

Shorten Your Showers

Let’s be honest. Sitting indoors all day hardly works up a sweat. Shortening your showers even by just a few minutes noticeably reduces water and electricity use. Cut your shower down from 15 to 10 minutes and you could save up to 25 gallons of heated water if you have a non-conserving showerhead.

Clean Your Vents and Air Filters

Free-flowing air feels better now and when you open your electricity bill. Long before the Covid-19 pandemic regularly cleaning air filters was considered best practice. Keeping vents exposed and clean is another step that helps the AC work as efficiently as possible. 

The Department of Energy estimates that changing or cleaning air filters once a month can lower electricity use by as much as 15%

Bonus Benefit: cleaning vents and filters improves air quality. This is particularly important if your access to the outdoors is limited. 

Switch Suppliers

Residents of deregulated energy markets have one more way to lower their electricity bills during the pandemic – switch suppliers.

Electricity rates vary from one provider to the next, and the price of energy fluctuates all of the time. You may discover that another supplier is offering a rate that’s more cost-effective than what you pay now. It never hurts to compare your options when you have extra downtime. 

When you look for providers online pay attention to customer reviews. Like any other service, you’ll want to know that the supplier handles problems and concerns in a prompt, professional manner. Having reliable electricity is extremely important, which is why you want a supplier you can trust.

Before you switch suppliers to look over your current contract if you have one. There may be an early termination fee. 

If you live in Maine, Massachusetts or New Hampshire Provider Power is an electricity company near you! We’re a competitive electricity supply company that delivers unique electric plans and exceptional customer service. Provider Power is here for you – call or go online to make a supplier switch in minutes.

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Social Distancing Tips From Provider Power

Up until a few weeks ago, the term social distancing wasn’t a part of everyday conversation. It was a concept that few people had the first-hand experience with, but now it’s a reality for millions in the USA and around the world. In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, people are following a stay at home mandates and self-quarantine initiatives in an effort to stop the spread. 

The tips below can help you take social distancing measures without feeling the effects of isolation. 

Replace Social Visits With Video Chatting

If you’re one of the thousands of people who got an Echo for the holidays you may want to send the gift-giver a thank you card. When people were told to stay at home for over two weeks, platforms like Facetime and Echo became a social lifeline that provides face-to-face discussions that are one step away from in-person interactions.

And people aren’t just video chatting one-on-one. Some people are arranging video chat happy hours and dinners with a group of family and friends. You have to make dinner and drinks yourself, but it’s better than feeling like a social outcast. 

Want to organize a virtual movie night? Then check out the Netflix Party Chrome extension. Discord is another option that can allow a group of users to share the screen of one person who’s streaming a movie. 

Zoom use has skyrocketed in recent weeks primarily among professionals and students. The app is designed for work functions and has had high-profile plugs from entertainers like Howard Stern that are producing shows remotely. The video conferencing platform also has special features like filters and backgrounds that take video chatting up a level.

Take a Walk, But Keep Your Distance

It’s kind of amazing how little Americans walk these days. A few years ago researchers like Tom Vanderbilt pointed out that Americans walk less than any other industrialized nation. Part of the reason we stopped walking is the technology that limits the need to travel on foot. Health experts are concerned that quarantining at home isn’t going to help the problem.

If you aren’t at high risk for severe COVID19 illness and keep a safe distance from others (6+ feet), taking a walk won’t break the social distancing rules. Most state parks and trails are closed, but even a quick walk around your neighborhood can be beneficial. The fresh air is good for your pulmonary health and mental state. And walking is actually a great form of exercise that just about anyone can do for free. 

Take a Virtual Class

Catching up on the streaming shows you’ve fallen behind on isn’t the only way to be productive during the self-quarantine period. As many school children can tell you, remote learning is the new norm. 

There are virtual classes for virtually every interest, hobby, and profession. You can take an online driver’s education, join a yoga group or learn how to cook a new dish. At the end of the quarantine, you can at least say you learned something new.   

A few more of our top social distancing tips include:

  • Meditate for five minutes a day – that’s long enough to realize the mind-calming benefits and ease anxiety.
  • Order an adult coloring book online to tap into your creative side.
  • Read up on how to teleconference with your medical team. It’s a good idea any time you may be contagious.
  • Watch a familiar show or movie if you’re home alone. The familiar voices can be soothing even if they come from the TV.
  • Going for a bike ride is another way to get exercise without coming into contact with others.

Provider Power is dedicated to serving our customers during the COVID19 outbreak. We have taken measures to enable our customer service agents to work remotely so that they can stay safe while providing the exemplary assistance you’ve come to expect.

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Checklist for Moving to New England

Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts – those six states make up what’s known as New England. That’s your first tip for moving to the area. Many people mistakenly think that New England includes the entire northeastern part of the U.S., but locals will quickly correct them. 

One caveat about moving to New England is seasonality. If you plan to move during the winter you’ll have to account for potentially harsh weather conditions that make things a little more difficult. And fall can actually be very busy with people who are leaf-peeping. The White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire is one of the most popular leaf-peeping spots in the country. 

Moving is never an easy-going process, but being prepared does make it easier. The checklist below will help you make a move to New England no matter what time of year you plan to relocate. 

Packing

Packing is by far the most tedious moving task that people don’t look forward to doing. The trick is to get started early so that you can take it little by little in an organized manner. The more organized you are during the packing process the quicker it will be to unpack. 

Supplies

  • Boxes (boxes and more boxes)
  • Specialty boxes for electronics
  • Packing tape
  • Sharpie marker (for labeling)
  • Newspapers or packing paper
  • Bubble wrap

Travel Bag

  • Few sweaters (it’s usually sweater weather in New England)
  • Snow boots (if you’re moving in the winter)
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • IDs
  • Layers of clothing (dressing in layers is a good idea most of the year)
  • Phone chargers       
  • Personal devices

First Night Box

  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Washcloths
  • Shower curtain with hangers
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper plates
  • Toiletries 
  • Flashlight 
  • Trash bags
  • Basic toolset
  • Sheets and pillowcases
  • Blankets

Loading and Unloading

  • Know whether there are any special circumstances like a steep driveway (which is somewhat common in New England) that will affect where the moving truck can be parked.
  • Have a snow shovel on hand – if it’s winter you’ll need one to clear entryways to the house.
  • A moving dolly is a much safer way to move heavy and bulky items whether or not walkways are iced over.

Transport

How will you get all of your things to New England? Whether you make a DIY move or hire professional movers below are a few things that need to be done.

Moving Truck

  • Estimate the space needed. There are calculators online that can give you an estimate based on the number of boxes or rooms in your home.
  • Make sure the mover you hire is registered with the Department of Transportation and has a U.S. DOT number for moving across state lines. The DOT search tool can be used to verify the information.
  • Schedule the moving truck to arrive the day you plan to leave and get to the destination the day of or the day after you arrive. Do this about a month in advance if you’re moving during the busy summer season.

Personal Vehicles 

  • Get snow/winter tires if moving during the winter months.
  • Do a safety inspection to check the fluids, hoses, tires and more.
  • Load up jewelry, computers, documents and other sensitive items in your own vehicle that you’re driving.
  • Know the vehicle registration laws. You should have a grace period, but vehicle registration needs to be arranged within 2-4 weeks of moving.

Traveling

  • Chart a course. One thing to be aware of with a tall moving truck is that overpasses can be just 9’ tall in some areas. 
  • Line up hotels in advance if you have any special needs, like needing pet-friendly accommodations.
  • Get a lay of the land. Some New England cities, like Boston, have a somewhat baffling street layout. 

Residential Setup

With so much going on for the move it’s easy to forget that things need to be set up at your new home. You don’t have to get everything arranged in advance, but you will want to handle the to-dos below.

Utilities 

  • If your new home is in a deregulated energy market you can choose the energy plan you want. To get the best plan you’ll need to compare rates and features. It’s also important to verify that the provider is licensed to operate in the state. 
  • Water services are typically available through the local government. Check the city website for details on how to initiate service.

Trash Collection

  • Trash collection is another service that’s usually set up through the local government.
  • Recycling may be handled by a third-party provider that’s independent of the city. 

Mail 

  • The easiest way to change your mailing address is online at USPS.com/move.
  • Schedule mailing address changes to take effect a day or two before your move so that mail doesn’t end up being delivered to your old address. 
  • To make sure you know where your mail is by signing up for the USPS Informed Delivery service. The USPS will send email updates about what mail is scheduled to be delivered each day.

Pets 

  • Get documents and records from your current veterinarian. 
  • Give your pets extra love and attention. Moving can be stressful for animals.
  • Line up pet-friendly hotels if moving by vehicle will take more than one day.

Congrats! You’re ready to move to New England. Now grab yourself a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and get ready for all the unpacking. 

Need to set up electricity in New Hampshire, Massachusetts or Maine? Provider Power is a New England-owned leading supplier of electricity.  It’s Power with a Purpose!

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Seacoast United: Healthy Living and Youth Sports

Seacoast United has remained true to its mission—to advance the physical and social well-being of children and young adults through youth sports. Through their foundation, Seacoast United also make sure that any athlete, regardless of financial situation is able to participate.

Physical activity is important in the healthy development of children. Most of us know this, but children are less active now than ever before. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education notes that only one in three children are physically active every day.

Increased physical activity delivers physiological, psychological and social benefits. This is especially important during the developmental years, and it carries forward into adulthood. This latter factor is borne out by organizations like the American Heart Association, which indicates that increased physical activity leads to increased life expectancy and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, along with other health benefits.

Seacoast United, founded in 1992 by Paul Willis, began with a simple mission—to advance the physical and social well-being of youth and young adults through sports like soccer. For the past 22 years, this organization has been true to that mission, one that has been getting young people up and off the couch and onto athletic fields in New Hampshire (and now, Maine). They’ve recently expanded into other sports, also.

According to James Peterson, director of sales and marketing for Seacoast United, Willer’s vision was for Seacoast to be both an exclusive soccer training program, but also an inclusive one. What this means is that while there are a myriad of opportunities for highly-skilled players to play at the upper echelons of competition, Seacoast will never turn anyone away from their programs due to economics or if they aren’t an elite skill-level player, which is unique for a program like this one.


SeacoastUnited
“Seacoast started with just two youth teams, and now, we have more than 5,000 athletes enrolled in our various programs,” said Peterson. “We’ve also branched out from soccer and are now offering team sports like baseball, softball, field hockey, and lacrosse.”

Peterson mentioned that while the focus is always on getting kids introduced to soccer (and other sports), the sports programming has continued growing and evolving.

“We now have select, elite, and professional level teams,” Peterson said. “Our summer college league (minor league) team is a nationally-recognized program. Last year, they won their league, which is part of the Premier Development League (PDL),” he said.

Peterson mentioned that Seacoast affiliates itself with outstanding coaches.

“50 percent of our staff has international experience,” Peterson added.

Peterson himself came to Seacoast after a stint with Oxford United, a premiere club program in Great Britain.

He talked about the important life lessons that sports offers those who choose to participate, like the “three P’s.”

“Sports is a great tool for young people to learn about teamwork, discipline, dealing with adversity—all things that are important for success in life.”

According to Peterson, Seacoast also has a significant number of players progressing up through their ranks.

“We had a case study done that indicated that 60 percent of our junior academy players went to our premiere and select division teams,” said Peterson.

Seacoast isn’t just a New Hampshire-based program any longer. While they have a state-of-the-art 70,000-square-foot indoor facility in Hampton and a four-field outdoor complex in Epping, they’ve expanded their soccer and baseball programming into southern Maine, as well as now having Seacoast affiliates in Portland, Topsham, and Bangor.

The Seacoast Foundation holds fundraising and charity events to support the overall goals and programming of Seacoast United. Much of the funding generated each year provides scholarships for athletes who may not be able to afford to participate with town club teams, or go on to elite level competitions. This includes traveling to national and international tournaments.

Peterson mentioned that they hold two major fundraisers each year.

“We have our annual soccer-a-thon, which takes place over a 24-hour period in April. We start games at 4:00 pm on Friday and these go continuously through Saturday at 4:00,” said Peterson. “These take place at our indoor facility in Hampton and the fields in Epping. We raised $70,000 in 2014,” he said.

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Peterson added that Seacoast included participants from the Special Olympics in this year’s soccer-a-thon.

“They has such a great time and it was gratifying to have them participating with us.”

Another fundraiser Peterson mentioned was their Annual Gala held at the beautiful and historic Wentworth-by-the-Sea, in New Castle, New Hampshire. This is hosted by Ocean Properties, a business sponsor for Seacoast.

“All the proceeds from this go to our scholarship fund,” said Peterson.

All three Provider Power company’s , support Seacoast United’s Foundation through our Power To Help Initiative.  When enrolling with ENH Power, Electricity Maine or Provider Power Mass  customers select from a list of non-profit partners and we make a contribution to that organization.  

To learn more click on the link from the state you live in:

Maine

New Hampshire

Mass

 

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