Blizzard vs Winter Storm: What’s the Difference

Storms are one of the most common reasons that the electricity gets knocked out in the winter. Frigid temperatures paired with ice and snow can be disastrous for power lines and transformers. They can also wreak havoc on your home.

No storm in the forecast is good, but it’s important to know the difference between types of winter storms so that you can properly prepare. In this post, we’re taking a closer look at winter storms and how they compare to blizzards.

Types of Winter Storms

It turns out winter storm is a blanket term for several types of storms that occur in the winter. There are four types of winter storms:


Anytime rain turns into snow it’s considered a snowstorm. Snow forms when the air between the clouds and ground is 32°F or less. There are three types of snowstorms based on the amount of snowfall:

  • Snow Flurries – This is a light snowstorm with very little snow accumulation on the ground, if any.
  • Snow Showers – Storms that produce enough snow to accumulate on the ground are known as snow showers.
  • Snow Squalls – When gusts of wind are accompanied by significant snow accumulation it’s considered a snow squall. 

Ice Storm

When a storm involves ice formation it might be considered an ice storm. To be a full-fledged ice storm there must be ice accumulation on everything outside and it has to be at least a quarter of an inch thick. Be extremely careful during an ice storm. In these conditions, power lines can break free due to the weight of the ice. 

Lake Effect Storms

If you live near the Great Lakes you may have experienced a lake effect storm. This is when winds from the north blow moisture from the lakes up into the air causing heavy snow to fall in the southern and eastern regions around the lakes. 


A blizzard is a type of winter storm that tends to be more severe. In the next section, we’ll go into more detail about what makes a blizzard different than other types of winter storms.

What Turns a Winter Storm Into a Blizzard

Blizzards are the most severe type of winter storm. They are so serious the National Weather Service has a special set of winter storm warnings for blizzards. 

While other winter storms are identified by the amount of ice and snowfall they produce, blizzards are determined by how strong the winds are during the storm. A blizzard will have sustained winds of 35 miles per hour or more. 

A blizzard will also involve heavy snowfall and what’s known as blowing snow. Blowing snow is snow that is either falling or is loose on the ground and is being kicked up by the wind. As the snow drifts through the air it decreases visibility. During a blizzard, visibility is reduced to just a quarter mile or less. 

The hard-blowing wind and decreased visibility are what make blizzards so dangerous. These dangerous conditions last 3+ hours and leave massive amounts of snow on the ground.

Essential Steps for Winter Storm Preparation

Getting through a winter storm is all about preparation. The more prepared you are the less likely it is that your home will be damaged. Here are five things every homeowner should do to prepare for the winter storm season.

Know the NOAA Warning System

Familiarize yourself with the NOAA winter weather warning system so you know what different issuances mean. There are:

  • Winter Storm Watches
  • Blizzard Watches
  • Winter Weather Advisory
  • Freezing Rain Advisory
  • Winter Storm Warning
  • Ice Storm Warning
  • Blizzard Warning

Outfit Your Car and Home With Emergency Supplies

FEMA and other disaster relief agencies recommend always having a first aid kit at home and in your car. You’ll also need to keep an ice scraper, hand broom, small bag of sand, road flares, and traction mats, or tire chains in your vehicle. 

Winterize Your Home 

Winterizing your home will help mitigate the freezing temperatures outside, reduce the risk of burst pipes and decrease the likelihood of a tree branch falling on your roof. 

Winterize Your Vehicle

Your vehicle is vital during a winter storm because you may need to evacuate. Vehicle weatherization ensures your car can safely make it down the road when the temperature drops below freezing. 

Have the HVAC System Serviced

When winter storms are a real threat the last thing you want is to have the heat go out in your home. HVAC servicing from a professional assured that everything is in good working condition before a storm hits.

At Provider Power we’re here for you during the winter storm season with energy plans that are reliable. Find out if Provider Power energy plans are available in your area! 

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What Causes Condensation to Form and How to Stop It

You may have noticed that every winter there seems to be a condensation issue around the windows. All of a sudden your dry window is dripping wet for apparently no reason. Now water is puddling on the window sill and dripping down the wall in a wet mess.  

What causes condensation to form on windows? Is it an indicator of a bigger problem? And what can be done to stop it? Let’s find out!

What Causes Condensation

Condensation is a result of warm, humid air hitting a cold surface. When that happens the air turns to liquid because the quickly cooling warm air can’t hold the moisture. Condensation can also occur when humidity levels are simply too high inside.

Windows are the prime spot for condensation in the winter because the glass is cooled by direct contact with the outside air. Also, the water has nowhere to go on glass. It beads up making the condensation obvious.

Is Condensation a Problem?

Condensation isn’t something that you want to see for a few reasons. For starters, it creates a mess. But anytime moisture is involved it could lead to mold and mildew problems that are much more difficult to deal with. The health of family members can even be impacted if mold and mildew start to grow.

When condensation isn’t wiped up it can soak into porous surfaces. The moisture can eventually damage wood and fabric beyond repair. Homeowners are lucky if all they have to do is repaint to get rid of water stains. If the problem isn’t addressed eventually drywall can be damaged, wood can rot and structural weakness can occur.

An indirect problem with condensation is higher energy costs. In the morning, windows with condensation are fogged up. Instead of the sunlight coming through the window and helping warm your home, the heat is used to evaporate the condensation. 

The other problem with this is that when the condensation is evaporated the moisture goes back into the air. This makes humidity levels inside higher, which makes the condensation problem worse. 

If you see condensation it’s an indicator that you have a weak spot in the home’s insulating envelope. It’s also a sign there are humidity problems inside. 

How to Stop Condensation From Forming

Condensation is a problem that won’t go away on its own. If left unchecked, condensation can do serious damage. Plus, it can negatively impact your health if it causes mildew and mold to form. For those reasons, condensation should be addressed immediately.

Stop the condensation drip with these simple tips. 

Use a Dehumidifier

If high humidity levels are to blame for the condensation a dehumidifier can help. There is dehumidifying equipment that can be installed within the HVAC system, but the simpler and cheaper option is to use a portable dehumidifier. Use it in the room where you see condensation to see if it makes a difference.

LEARN MORE: Do Humidifiers Use a Lot of Electricity? 

Use Vents

Anytime you shower or when you are cooking, turn on the exhaust fan. It will help draw moist air out of the home to keep humidity levels low. 

Don’t Dry Clothes Inside

Even though it’s cold outside, don’t dry your clothes inside.  Doing so can release up to 5 pints of moisture into the air.

Look for Water Leaks

Water leaks in the home are another common moisture source that can raise humidity levels. Do a thorough check throughout the entire home to look for signs of a water leak. Pay careful attention to pipes that bring water into the house.

Depending on the issue at hand you may need to take more in-depth measures to control condensation. For example, if you have a basement and humidity is an issue there’s a good chance the basement needs to be insulated. If you take all of the standard measures to reduce humidity inside and there’s still a condensation problem you may need to call in a pro to locate the source of the problem. 
At Provider Power we can’t solve your humidity problems, but we can help you keep your home nice and warm this winter for a fixed rate. Check our selection of electricity plans in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts.

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Do Humidifiers Use a Lot of Electricity

When we’re cooped up inside with the heater blasting in the winter, the air inside can become uncomfortably dry. That’s about the time the humidifier comes out. 

The air definitely feels more comfortable, but will your wallet pay the price when the electricity bill comes? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wondered the same thing. A few years ago the EPA released their residential humidifier scoping report. In it the agency noted humidifiers only account for 0.11% of overall electricity use. 

That’s a pretty small percentage, but keep in mind that is an average. There are a few things that affect how much electricity a humidifier uses starting with the type of humidifier you have.

Electricity Consumption of Different Types of Humidifiers

Exactly how much electricity a humidifier uses will largely depend on what type of humidifier you’re using. There are two categories of humidifiers: portable and whole house.

Portable Humidifier

The vast majority of humidifiers are portable. This simply means they are small standalone units that can be moved around from room to room. You’ll enjoy more flexibility, but the tradeoff with portable humidifiers is they treat a limited space. Very rarely a portable humidifier is powerful enough to treat a small home.

Portable humidifiers have a small tank of water that will need to be replaced. They work by plugging into a 120V electric outlet.

The options break down further to three different types of portable humidifiers: 


Energy Used: 44 kWh

Savings estimate for energy-efficient model: 11.8 kWh per year / $1.36 annual savings

An ultrasonic humidifier has a piezo-electric device inside that eliminates the need for heating. However, it does rely on a fan to push vapor out.

Cool Misting 

Energy Used: 80 kWh

Savings estimate for energy-efficient model: 36.2 kWh per year / $4.17 annual savings

Cool misting humidifiers are the most popular type. About half of the humidifiers in the U.S. are cool misting. This type of humidifier has an internal fan blowing water up to a diffuser that creates a mist.

Warm Misting

Energy Used: 220 kWh

Savings estimate for energy-efficient model: 80.1 kWh per year / $9.22 annual savings

A warm misting humidifier has a heating component within the reservoir that warms the water before releasing it as a mist.

Whole House Humidifier

A whole house humidifier is a complex system that requires professional installation. The humidifier is installed in the ductwork so that up to 6,000 square feet of space can be humidified using a humidistat. One cost consideration is that the filter for the humidifier must be changed every six months. 

There are three types of whole house humidifiers:


Energy Used: 0

Savings estimate for energy-efficient model: N/A

Bypass humidifiers have a pad that is sprayed with water. The airflow from the HVAC system passes over the pad adding vapor to the air. Therefore, no extra power is required to run the humidifier, but you’ll only feel the effects when the HVAC system is on.


Energy Used: 108 kWh

Savings estimate for energy-efficient model: 15.2 kWh per year / $1.75 annual savings

A reservoir of water in the humidifier is exposed to airflow from the HVAC system, but there’s also a fan in the humidifier that will create airflow if the HVAC system isn’t running.


Energy Used: 1.915 kWh

Savings estimate for energy-efficient model: 426.7 kWh per year / $49.11 annual savings

A heating element heats a reservoir of water that evaporates. The vapor is sprayed into the airflow of the HVAC system.

The Setting You Use Matters Too

The next thing that can affect humidifier energy use is the settings that you use. Most humidifiers give you various power levels. Typically there is a high, medium and low setting as well as a way to create a relative humidity setting.

Setting the humidifier to high rather than low will make the appliance work harder and use more energy. It may be best to use the relative humidity setting if you have the option. That way the humidifier only runs when it’s needed.

How Humidifiers Help You Reduce Energy Use

Now for the really good news. A humidifier can actually help reduce energy use. When the humidity is just right (30-50% relative humidity) it feels more comfortable inside a home even if you don’t touch the thermostat. 

In the winter you may feel so comfortable that you keep the temperature a few degrees lower. When air is humidified it feels warmer. That’s why in the summer higher temperatures plus higher humidity can feel really uncomfortable.

Provider Power can help you keep your humidifier running year-round for a fixed rate. We’re an industry-leading electricity provider located throughout the northeast. Find available energy plans in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

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Standby Generators: What You Need to Know for Safety

We’ve all experienced a power outage and all of the inconveniences that go along with it. For some people, being without electricity for even an hour can actually be a health hazard. But if there’s a power outage from a natural disaster, storm or accident, a standby generator can be an invaluable energy source when you need it most.

Standby generators, also known as stationary generators, are designed to provide temporary power for appliances, lights and other essentials in a home. Most standby generators generate electricity by tapping into the natural gas line or using a whole-house propane tank. They will automatically come on and start providing electricity the moment the power goes out. 

A standby generator can be a lifesaver during a power outage, but it can also be a danger if it isn’t used properly. Here’s some helpful advice from the experts on how to safely use a standby generator. 

Safety Concerns Associated With Standby Generators

In general, standby generators are relatively safe. That said, they are still a complex piece of equipment that runs on gas and generates electricity. Because of this, there are four primary safety concerns associated with standby generators.

Carbon Monoxide

The biggest safety hazard to watch out for when using any kind of generator is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is colorless and odorless. It’s produced any time gas is burned. If a person breathes in carbon monoxide it can be deadly. Carbon monoxide is also highly flammable and can create an explosion. 

Electric Shock

Any time you are dealing with equipment that produces electricity, electric shock is a possibility. Standby generators are built with weatherproof housing to safely operate out in the elements, but precautions should always be taken if it’s raining or the generator is wet. 


Like electric shock, fire is another safety hazard related to electricity. As noted above, carbon monoxide from the natural gas supply can pose a serious fire risk. 


The other serious concern with using standby generators is overloading the unit. Overloading is when you exceed the load capacity for the generator. It can completely fry your standby generator as well as the appliances and equipment that are plugged in. You can find load capacity information for a generator in the owners manual. 

How to Safely Set Up a Standby Generator 

The power has suddenly gone out, and now it’s time to put your standby generator to use. Setting up a standby generator may seem straightforward, but there’s a bit more to it than simply plugging in a piece of equipment. To ensure the safety of everyone in the home, have the standby generator professionally installed following all of the best practices below.  

Read the  Owner’s Manual

Safe standby generator setup and operation starts with the owner’s manual. Read through the manual before the first use. Pay careful attention to the voltage warnings, operation directions and recommendations for use.

Placement: Outside of the House Away from Vents, Windows and Doors

The standby generator should always be set up outside of the home on a concrete pad. NEVER run a standby or portable generator indoors. The goal is to keep fumes and carbon monoxide from getting inside where it can become deadly. For that reason, a standby generator should be installed at least 5 feet away from all doors, windows and vents.

Size It Right: Avoid Overloads and Inadequate Power Supply

Choosing the right size standby generator is very important. You want a generator that can supply enough electricity to power your entire house without overloading the system. 

Before purchasing a generator, go through your home and add up the power requirements for all of the essential appliances, equipment and devices. Also include the wattage of all the lights you’ll want to use. To determine your power needs add up the watts for everything and divide it by volts to get the amps that are needed.

Watts ÷ Volts = Amps

Get a standby generator that produces more than the minimum amps needed. Generators are notorious for drawing excessive amounts of power when they are first turned on so make sure you allow for a bit of excess beyond your minimum needs. 

Connection: Choose the Between Natural Gas Supply Lines and Propane Tanks

If you have natural gas at your home, then you can choose to either connect into the gas line or get a generator that runs on a whole-house propane tank. One advantage of a standby generator that connects into the natural gas line is you don’t have to worry about switching out propane tanks. 

Power Cords: Keep Them Out of Water and Out of the Way

If the power was knocked out by a storm there may be puddles of rain on the ground. Make sure any power cords coming out of or going into the generator aren’t sitting on the ground where they may be in standing water. 

You can count on Provider Power to offer exceptional service and the necessary local utility contact information during a power outage. Check to see if Provider Power plans with reliable fixed rates are available in your area.

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How Much Electricity Does an Electric Car Use?

People who are thinking about buying an electric car for the first time ever have a lot of questions, which is understandable. One of the most common questions people have is how much electricity an electric car uses. 

Saving money at the gas pump is a top motivator for going with a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV). However, if the electricity consumption of a PEV is significant your monthly bill from the utility provider could be noticeably higher. You can calculate an estimate by using your kilowatt-hour rate and determining roughly how much electricity an electric car will use. Here’s how.

Calculating Electric Car Electricity Use

Gas-powered vehicles have the familiar miles per gallon (MPG) measurement. The MPG tells us how far a vehicle will go on a single gallon of gas (or diesel). 

Measuring fuel efficiency is a little different for electric vehicles. With PEVs, the distance is measured in kWhs per 100 miles. So, in order to calculate how much electricity a PEV will use on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and the cost you’ll need to know:

The rate you pay per kilowatt-hour

The EVs kWhs per 100 miles rating

Now, let’s break it down with an example. Let’s assume that you pay $0.12 per kilowatt-hour. Your electric car requires 30 kWhs to go 100 miles on a fully charged battery. That would mean it costs $3.60 to charge a depleted battery, which works out to be $0.036 per mile or roughly 1/3 kilowatt-hour per mile (3.3 miles per kWh).  

But that’s not the end of the calculation. Now that you know the miles per kilowatt-hour you can determine how much electricity will be used in a month. That depends on how much you drive. 

Let’s assume you’re an average driver that drives 13,500 miles a year. That would work out to be approximately 1,125 miles a month. Going that many miles would require 341 kWhs for an EV that gets 3.3 miles per kWh. 

In this example, the electric car uses 341 kWhs a month for a total cost of $41 in electricity. 

Of course, this is a very straightforward example. In the real world, there are a lot of variables that can affect the electricity usage and rate that is paid.

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Electric Vehicle Electricity Use

How many miles per kilowatt-hour an EV gets is out of the owner’s control, but there are still ways to reduce high usage at home without cutting back on the miles you drive. Below are three simple ways to do just that. 

Charge at Public Stations

The easiest way to dramatically reduce electricity consumption at home is by charging up for free when you’re out and about. Right now there are 31,287 electric charging stations across the U.S. and Canada. Before heading out make sure to check and see if you’ll be stopping in an area that has one.

Charge at Night If You Have a Time-of-Use Electric Plan

People that have a time-of-use plan need to be very mindful of when they charge at home. With this type of electricity plan the kWh rate changes throughout the day depending on demand. Generally, rates are lowest between midnight and 6am. Charging during these hours won’t impact how much electricity is used, but it will make a difference on your monthly bill. 

Use a Smart AC Level 2 Charging Station at Home

If you’re going to invest in an at-home charging station, AC level 2 charging equipment may be the best option. Level 2 equipment comes with smart features like a charging timer and data collection. These features make it easier to charge up when it’s cheaper and get a better idea of how far you’re driving on a given day.

The Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) is a great resource for anyone who’s considering an electric car. The center has information on calculating EV electricity use, a charging station locator tool and much more.

Power to help doesn’t exist anymore

You’ll get an electricity plan you can really feel good about!

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Wireless Electricity: Is It a Real Thing?

These days it seems like everyone is cutting cords, and wireless technology is quickly becoming the standard. We’ve got wireless phones, cameras, and Wi-Fi that can deliver an Internet connection just about anywhere. So it’s only natural that scientists would turn their attention to wireless electricity at some point. 

Imagine not having to plug in to get power. Or homes that don’t need to be connected to electric lines. But is it more of a sci-fi fantasy than a possible reality? Let’s find out!

Wireless Power Isn’t a New Idea

Some people may think that wireless electricity is a novel concept that has come about in the modern Internet Era. But those people would be wrong. Scientists, physicists, and engineers have been working on wireless power for over 130 years. 

Nikola Tesla was among the first to toy around with the idea of creating a system that could wirelessly transmit power. His attempts lead to the creation of the Tesla coil that can produce up to a million volts of electricity. That is the amount needed to transmit electricity wirelessly. Tesla even built the now-famous Wardenclyffe Tower in 1901 with the goal of transmitting electricity from it. 

Where We’re At With Wireless Electricity Today

Tesla laid a very firm groundwork for wireless electricity long ago, which begs the question “why don’t we have wireless electricity today?” 

Although Tesla was very optimistic about the adoption of wireless electricity, his investors were less impressed with the way things were progressing. J.P. Morgan (who funded Tesla’s wireless electricity experiments) pulled the plug on it by defunding the project. Advancements were stopped short, and Tesla’s tower was demolished.

That could have been the end of Tesla’s wild notion that he could transmit electricity wirelessly, essentially for free. But it’s a concept that’s just too enticing to ignore.

Tesla himself realized that transmitting electricity through airwaves proved to be virtually impossible beyond a short distance. However, he discovered the ground was a much better conductor for his methods. Using metal rods buried in the ground, Tesla claimed he was able to power on lightbulbs that were hundreds of feet away from his lab.

Scientists today think wireless electricity is possible, but few agree with Tesla’s approach. They say magnetic induction and microwaves are the keys to transmitting energy wirelessly. Researchers around the world, including a group from Stanford University, are working towards putting the final pieces of the puzzle in place. 

Wireless electricity transmission is actually being used on very small scales right now. For several years, physicists have been able to power multiple devices wirelessly without a direct line of sight for up to 30 feet. Furthermore, the devices being charged were in motion. This was achieved through magnetic resonance coupling, feedback resistors, and voltage amplifiers.

For researchers at Stanford, distance isn’t the issue as much as the amount of power being transmitted. Once they are able to transmit larger quantities of energy and produce wireless power receivers, the researchers believe it is possible for wireless electricity to be used in real-world settings. And it’s a possibility that isn’t far away. There are ongoing wireless electricity projects that hope to produce tangible results by 2031. 

The Advantages of Wireless Power Transmission

Is wireless power something that’s even worth pursuing? Is it worth the hassle to completely transform the electric system across the U.S.? The short answer is – yes.

No More Cords

The most obvious and immediate advantage of wireless power transmission is getting rid of the tangle of cords that keep devices shackled to an electric outlet. They would no longer be needed since electricity is delivered through the air. Not only is it more aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also safer with fewer cords around. 

Wireless Power Transmission Could Decrease Electricity Costs

One of the biggest advantages of wireless power transmission is its promise of free electricity. While electricity wouldn’t be free (it still has to be generated after all), there’s a good chance it would cost less eventually.

The infrastructure for buildings would cost less if electricians didn’t need to wire the whole property. Maintenance of the electric system would be reduced, which decreases the expense of delivering electricity. There would even be less need for technicians to serve as meter readers. 

Implementing new technology typically costs more upfront, but as it’s adopted and becomes more widespread prices tend to decrease even lower than they started. 

Electricity Could Reach More Places

It’s hard to believe, but there are still many places on this Earth where electricity isn’t readily available. Getting electricity to some structures is extremely difficult due to lack of infrastructure, environmental challenges or both. If electricity can be transmitted through the air it would bring power to millions of people throughout the world. 

Electric Cars Could Charge as They Drive

Another major invention of the last century was electric vehicles (EVs). Despite misgivings, demand for electric cars has steadily increased in recent years as concerns over climate change and gas prices have risen. If wireless electricity transmission were possible electric vehicles could charge as they are driven. How far an EV can go on a charge would be a non-issue. 

Less Toxic Waste

Disposable batteries are serious pollutants. In the U.S. alone, almost 3 billion batteries are thrown away each year. The toxic materials inside can leak out and contaminate the soil or water. With wireless power, it’s possible to develop batteries that can be recharged over and over again while in use, thus greatly reducing the number of batteries that need to be made and eventually discarded. 
While we wait on wireless electricity to become a reality, Provider Power can help you tap into the electric grid with the flip of a switch. Just input your zip code to find available electricity plans in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

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Best Time to Shop for Electricity Online

Deregulation has completely changed the way people in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts get electricity. You no longer have to settle for a sole provider that was selected by the local government. In deregulated energy markets, consumers are the ones that get to do the choosing.

That means consumers have a decision to make. It’s a decision that can have a long-term impact on your monthly budget, and the right answer isn’t always clear. What are electricity consumers to do?

As with so many other purchase decisions today, consumers that comparison shop online is the ones that find the best deals.

The Electricity Comparison Shopping Challenge

The one problem when you’re shopping for electricity plans is the prices can fluctuate. Electricity isn’t like many other consumer goods that have a set value for the foreseeable future. The rates for electricity can change day-by-day. There’s a good chance the rates will be higher or lower than what you saw just a week ago. 

The changing prices mean you can do research in advance, but you’ll have to save the serious comparison shopping until you are ready to sign up for a new service. 

The Best Time to Compare Electricity Plans Online

When you sign up for an electric service it’s not a one-time expense. It affects your finances month after month.

The absolute best time to compare offers and sign up for a new electricity plan depends on where you live. That’s because consumer demand has a big influence on what’s offered. Ideally, you want to compare electricity plans when demand is low because this is when wholesale electricity prices are at their lowest. 

Wholesale electricity prices are driven by use. In the northeast, winter is the peak electricity season, and in the summer demand skyrockets in the south. According to the Energy Information Administration’s data, our customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine should find the lowest rates between May and October.

Because electricity rates and plans are so regional, researching your area’s weather trends to find the most temperate months is a good idea. You can also use your billing records over the last year or two to determine when demand is the lowest in your city. 

Keep in mind there are a few factors that could complicate matters when you’re trying to find a better electricity plan. One of the most common issues is being under contract. If you signed up for a fixed-rate plan you may be under contract with your current provider. You might have to pay a fee for breaking the contract to switch providers.

Of course, not everything can be perfectly timed in life. If you find yourself in need of a new electricity plan during the peak seasons see what Provider Power has to offer. We have fixed-rate electricity plans, and you can lock in your rate for up to 24 months. 

Get seasonal price protection that can make chilly winters and hot summers easier to handle!

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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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