Right about now you may be putting the final touches on Valentine’s surprise for your sweetheart. The last thing on your mind is the utility bill – until it arrives. Suddenly, a candlelit dinner seems a lot more economical.
Being that we’re still in the grip of winter, it’s understandable that electric bills will be higher than other times of the year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Today we’re taking inspiration from those cute little Valentines conversation heart candies to provide tips on how you can make “smart” choices on your electricity bill.
“Pick Me” – First, Make Sure You Choose the Right Service
If you live in a deregulated area you’re not stuck with a single provider. Customers can play the field and choose the electric provider they like best.
Much of the time the primary focus is on finding the provider with the lowest rates. While that is important, it’s best to find a provider that’s the total package. Providers that offer fixed rates make your monthly bill more predictable. Length of the contract is also a major factor when you’re looking for an energy partner. If you find a great rate locking it in for a long-term commitment will benefit you.
“Thank You” – Don’t Overlook Customer Service
Customer service is kind of like the quiet kid in class who surprises you with an amazing handmade Valentines Day card out of nowhere – it can be easy to overlook and you’ll probably regret it if you do. Provider Power makes customer service a priority because we know reliability is important. We also know that when a customer calls they like to hear the voice of a knowledgeable rep on the other line who can handle billing issues quickly.
Another aspect of customer service that’s sometimes forgotten about is the extra perks. Electric providers that want to keep customers happy are all about incentives like offering sign up rebates, referral rewards, and additional resources to improve energy efficiency at home. In other words, if a company is just an energy provider they may not be “the one.”
“Be True” – Know How to Read Your Bill
The utility delivers your bill each month, but how often do you read it beyond the amount due? Your electric bill may not be as entertaining as a romance novel, but understanding how to read it can actually help you to make smart choices.
If your provider has the customer service aspect of the business nailed down there’s a good chance they’ve created a guide to help customers decipher their bill. The guide will explain each part of the bill and how monthly rates are calculated. This information can help you discover when you use the most energy in a year, month or day. Knowing how to read your bill can also reduce the need to call customer service since you may be able to find the information you need yourself.
“Hot Stuff” – Temperature Settings Have a Huge Impact
There are a lot of ways to reduce energy use at home, but some changes move the needle more than others. When it’s cold outside you’ll want to pay careful attention to the temperature indoors. There are two places in particular to monitor:
Hot water heater – Too often people have their hot water heater turned up too high, and it wastes electricity and/or gas. The Department of Energy recommendation is to keep the temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 20 degrees cooler than the factory default setting. Bonus: the cooler setting helps minimize mineral buildup.
Programmable thermostat – It’s tempting to crank up the heat during winter, but that won’t heat your cold house more quickly, and it will certainly increase your bill. The better strategy is to program your thermostat so that it remains a constant, reasonable temperature inside. When people are home and awake keep it at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. When the house is empty and everyone is asleep you can bump it down to 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit. If you get chilly you can always add a layer of clothing or snuggle under a warm blanket.
“Text Me” – Use Your Smart Meter to Your Advantage
Many cities are replacing old equipment with new smart meters. They not only make it easier for utilities and providers to generate bills, but they also make it easier for customers to lower them. A smart meter is a powerful tool the can provide real-time updates on energy use. By monitoring energy use you can know how and when you use the most energy and can make adjustments to reduce usage or do energy-intensive tasks during off-peak hours. Some smart meters will even send you energy management and cost summary alerts.
Another benefit of using a smart meter is there are no surprises on your next bill. You’ll know ahead of time how much electricity was used in a billing period.
New England customers will fall in love with what Provider Power has to offer. From supporting local non-profits to helping customers make smart choices on their energy bills, Provider Power is the type of electricity supplier you want to have a relationship with. Pick your state to see the available electric plans!