You’re Wasting Money on Monthly Expenses: Five Tips to Lower Your Bill

Our days are filled with energy usage: from plugging in our phone, microwaving our meals, and keeping our homes at a reasonable temperature (for both the sweltering summer and freezing winter.) We use a ton of energy. We’ve compiled some simple ways you can reduce your energy usage, and increase the money leftover in your pocket at the end of every month.

Here are five great tips for making changes around your home without breaking the bank. Tackling all five could result in massive savings on your energy bill!

1.) Install CFL or LED light bulbs

Have you ever updated the light bulbs in your house? Old incandescent bulbs burn almost four times the energy as CFLs or LED lights. CFL and LED bulbs also last longer, so you’ll be changing bulbs less often. Remember to look at the lumens number, which tells you the actual amount of light coming from each bulb, instead of the wattage.

Think about it this way: if you use a light for about four hours a day, and average electrical rates are about 12 cents per kilowatt per hour, replacing a 60-watt bulb with a 14-watt CFL or LED saves about 66 cents per month. It doesn’t sound like much, until you consider how many light bulbs you have in your home. If you replaced ten light bulbs, you could cut your bill by almost 80 dollars a year!

2.) Install a programmable thermostat

There’s no point in heating a house with no one in it, right? Invest in a programmable thermostat. They allow you to automatically set and change the temperature (both heating and cooling) when you’re at work, on vacation, or even sleeping. This cool tech-y trick won’t just impress your coworkers—it will also save you a ton on your next bill.

3.) Unplug unused devices and use power strips

We all have those devices that are always plugged in but are never used. Does your phone charger stay plugged in all day? What about your toaster and blender? Most electronic devices draw something called a phantom charge, which uses small amounts of energy that can add up quickly when you factor in an entire house-worth of appliances. This tip is simple to implement: just unplug things when you’re done!

To make it even easier for yourself, snag a few power strips with one central power button. You can turn off all your devices and stop that phantom charge with one press of a button. Bonus points for you if you install a power strip with a timer that will automatically turn off your chargers at a time you set during the day.

“Smart” power strips are a great tool for more advanced devices like your TV. A smart power strip can be programmed so your DVD player will only turn on if the television is being used.

4.) Lower the temperature on your hot water heater

Nearly a sixth of your energy costs come from your water heater. Usually, you have it set to keep water much hotter than you need. This lets heat and energy escape and you end up paying for it.

So how do you get your water heater to not be a total drain? Turn the setting down to just 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit and buy a water heater blanket to keep the heat in. Don’t worry — the money you’ll be saving in energy will pay for the blanket within about a year.

5.) Air seal your home

The energy you’re paying for is being wasted, and sometimes in hidden ways. Drafts and cracks in your home can let hundreds of dollars in energy bills escape every year. Air sealing your home can be a quick weekend project for you and your family. Energy.gov is great resource to get you started on sealing up your home to prevent air leaks and energy waste.

Whenever your bill is bringing you panic and confusion, consider these tips before calling your energy provider. Chances are, you can make a couple easy changes in your household and in return see a better bill.

To learn more about Provider Power and see rates in your state, click here!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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ENH Power & North Country Chamber Present Energy Panel

On October 22nd, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and ENH Power teamed up for a presentation and panel discussion on how to bring down electricity electricity costs and conserve energy in other areas.

On October 22nd, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and ENH Power teamed up for a presentation and panel discussion on how to bring down electricity costs and conserve energy in other areas.

With winter coming, Eversource/PSNH, Unitil, and Liberty electricity supply costs will be going up.   One of the goals of the discussion was to provide an insight into why New England electricity costs are high and what you can do now to reduce your electricity bill.

Panel experts included:  Candace Sanborn – VP of Marketing Provider Power/ENH Power, Stacy Sand, Energy Auditor-Go Green Energy Audits, Chris Miller from Rockingham Electric, Roland Berthium – Foam Insulator of North Country Spray Foam.

The next stop for the energy panel will be as part of the Mount Washington Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting (October 29, 2015).  For details about this event, visit the Mount Washington Chamber’s website.

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Electricity Maine & Maine Apartment Association Energy Panel

Electricity Maine discussed plans to offer a new Nights and Weekends plan that will allow residential and small business owners as well as property managers to pay a substantially lower rate during off-peak hours.

On October 15, 2015, Electricity Maine joined energy experts from Central Maine Power (C.M.P), Efficiency Maine, and Wesco Distribution for a discussion about managing energy costs. Sponsored by the Maine Apartment Association, representatives talked about emerging technologies, efficiency lighting, rebate opportunities, and energy management and monitoring opportunities.

Electricity Maine discussed plans to offer a new Nights and Weekends plan that will allow residential and small business owners as well as property managers to pay a substantially lower rate during off-peak hours.  If you were not lucky enough to join us for the discussion, feel free to flip though some of the information that was presented.

Additional Energy Panels are planned in the coming months.  The next energy panel will be as part of Maine Biz’s Momentum Convention on November 11th and include representatives of ReVision Energy, Central Maine Power, Summit Natural Gas, and of course Electricity Maine.

 

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Behind the Headlines & Electric Utility Fees

It is always good to look beyond the headlines, they don't always tell the whole story. This Wall Street Journal story about electric utility fees is one example.

The Headlines Read:

A Wall Street Journal article from October 20, 2015 suggests that utilities are seeking to punish customers because of their efforts to conserve electricity. The article, well the research used to justify the article, is based mostly on a report published by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (in Chicago).

The Research Says:

The headline and report from the Chicago group are very misleading. Yes, 22 utilities have asked for higher fees. Yes, other utilities have suggested they may ask for increases. These fees though are not a result of consumers’ conservation efforts-they are fees associated with developing a smarter grid, infrastructure upkeep and associated costs.

From WSJ.com

What the article does point out and should be of concern, flat rate ‘fees’ that every consumer pays the same amount for disproportionately impact those who use less power. While most of our electric bill can be attributed to the amount of power we use (we pay a rate per kilowatt for supply and a separate rate per kilowatt for delivery), fees are fixed and not tied to usage

Bradley Klein, a lawyer for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, is quoted this way,

The result {of higher fixed fees} is that low-use customers pay more than in the past, and high-use customers pay less.

William Dornbos from the Maine-based Acadia Center (they promote clean energy) says high monthly fees reduce the portion of the bill that a customer has the ability to lower.

Fixed fees are unpopular because they disempower the customers and discourage investments in rooftop solar and energy efficiency.

To bring this full circle, the reality is:

• In both regulated and de-regulated states, utilities have fixed rate fees. Fess are usually related to costs associated with infrastructure and technology updates.
• Utility fees are the one part of your electric bill not tied to kilowatt usage.
• Fees are approved by regulators, consumers do have an opportunity to speak up and oppose (or support them) before enacted.
• Deregulated states, where consumers select their supply company, are not immune to these utility fees.
• Conservation efforts don’t cause these fees to increase; this is especially true in states with energy choice

A copy of the author's Central Maine Power bill showing "Fixed Delivery Fee"
A copy of the author’s Central Maine Power bill showing “Fixed Delivery Fee”

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Business, Community Energy Savings, New Hampshire

ENH Power Applauds Increased Transparency with new N.H. PUC shopping site

As has been widely reported by numerous news outlets, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission launched a new website for electricity consumers.  The website can be found at the commission’s website under the consumer interests tab.

According to the N.H. PUC, shoppers identify whether they are residential or small commercial customers and then select their local utility from the list that includes Eversource, Unitil, NH Electric Cooperative and Liberty Utilities.

At ENH Power and across the Provider Power family of companies (including Electricity Maine and Provider Power Mass) we have consistently supported the efforts of advocates and regulators across the region to encourage transparency around electricity choice.  The Massachusetts DPU is about to launch their test site, the Office of Public Advocate in Maine already has a website dedicated to providing information about electricity choice to residential and small business consumers.

Homeowners, renters, and those who run small business have many options and a lot of information to digest before they can make informed decisions about how they want to purchase electricity.  These tools can be a valuable resource.

According to the story in the Concord Monitor, Amanda Noonan, director of the commission’s consumer affairs division, cautioned that consumers need to be sure they read and understand the terms of the offers, such as whether the price is fixed or variable and the duration of the offer.

This new site by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commissions shows that rate is just one consideration when looking at electricity supply options. Length of contract, fixed or variable plans, and clear terms and conditions need to be part of the buying process. By making information clear, concise and easy to understand, Granite Stater’s can make better decisions about their buying their electricity.

 

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Energy Panel: Energy Efficiency & What It Means for Your Properties

With electricity rates likely to increase this winter we are teaming up with energy experts to provide a forum to discuss energy conservation, energy management tools and the importance of shopping for electricity plans.

With electricity rates likely to increase this winter, Electricity Maine is teaming up with Central Maine Power, Wesco Distribution and Efficiency Maine to provide a forum for property owners and facility managers to discuss opportunities for energy conservation, energy management tools and the importance of shopping for electricity plans.

Sponsored by the Maine Apartment Association, topics will include lighting and appliance upgrades (whose costs can be off-set by Efficiency Maine rebate programs), smart grid technology offered through CMP and information about electricity choice in a deregulated market.

 

Fall Education Seminar

 

To purchase tickets or other information visit The Maine Apartment Association’s website.

Panelists scheduled to appear are Mark Whitney from Wesco, Rick Meiking from Efficiency Maine, Brianna Pierce from CMP’s Energy Management Program and Emile Clavet, Co-Founder of Electricity Maine/Provider Power.

This energy forum is just the first of several Electricity Maine will be participating in over the next few months.   Future energy panels will include similar discussions around energy choice, conservation, and rebate opportunities.  Panels are planned for Augusta/Kennebec Valley area, Mid-Coast, Bangor, Lewiston/Auburn and York County.

 

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Energy Efficiency Tips for Autumn

It's that time of year again - the leaves are changing color and temps are dropping. How can you still save on energy, you ask? Here are some energy efficiency tips for Autumn.

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Simple Tips to Save Money & Energy Around the House

No more thinking or guesswork - Here are some simple ways you can cut back on energy consumption for each room in your home - and save money while doing so!

Have you ever wondered how you can cut energy costs depending on the room you’re in? Now, we take the thinking and guessing out of it. Here are some simple ways you can cut back on energy consumption for each major room in your home.

Save Money and; Energy Around the House

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