Across the Provider Power family of companies (Electricity Maine, ENH Power, Provider Power Mass) we take great pride in sharing ideas, tips and techniques to help you reduce energy consumption around your home and office. Let’s face it, regardless of how much you are paying per kilowatt for electricity, using less power is the best way to save on your power bill.
When was the last time you looked at your electric bill, do you know how how much power you are use every month? If you don’t know or haven’t looked at your electric bill, I wonder if it is because you participate in an automatic payment program.
A new study released by The Review of Economics and Statistics suggests customers who use automatic bill payment programs use more energy, and accordingly have higher bills, than those that aren’t.
While there is convenience for both the consumer and businesses, there may be an energy downside. More than 14 million monthly bills for 684,000 accounts (both residential and business) were reviewed. Those who participated in an auto pay program experienced a 4% increase in consumption. Newer participants in auto pay programs had a 6% increase in consumption. Businesses on an auto pay program use 8.1% more power.
There are a myriad of benefits to electric utilities, supply companies (such as us) as well as consumers to continue with automatic bill payments. Should we eliminate automatic bill payments? No. Should we pay closer attention to how much power we are using? Yes. We shouldn’t allow the benefits of auto bill payments to supersede our responsibility to pay attention to energy usage.
In the “old days” we used to open our bill from our power company, write out a check and drop it in the mail. According to the research, the hands off approach to paying our power bills, not reviewing the details or even look at our bill, has led to an out of sight/out of mind mentality.
Most utilities, especially those with an automatic bill pay options, offer the opportunity to review your power bill on line, including day by day usage details.
Thanks to smart meters and smart grids, some of us are able to review energy use in real time (or close to real time). Central Maine Power customers are able to take advantage of CMP’s “Energy Manager”, customers are able to monitor energy use for the previous day.
Just as it took time for consumers to embrace the idea of auto payments, we should become more comfortable with and utilize the online resources available to us to monitor and track our energy consumption.