Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Just in case you don’t read every flier that PECO stuffs in your bill, be reminded that Pennsylvania electricity rates will be rising about 10% as part of a multi-year deregulation effort. This is a great time to implement enhanced energy conservation in your household, since it means you’ll save more for every measure you take. That’s good for the pocket and great for the planet.
First off, take note of the energy bottom line number on your bill, not just the dollar amount. Copy your “Total Annual kWh Usage” figure and post it prominently; it is your previous annual household electricity consumption. Since our houses have aggregate metering, most of us have no idea how much electricity we use. Imagine if each appliance and outlet had a mini-meter and you could actually see the cost – it would be a great motivator to lower the usage. The annual KWh (kilowatt hour) is a crude measure, but you will definitely be able to see it go down month to month. To give you perspective on your number, the average American household consumes 11,000 kWh annually. The average Pennsylvania household consumes 10,332 kWh. (Of course, Americans are energy hogs. The world average is way lower; consider that 2 billion people have no access to any electricity to consume.) This is a good chance to do better!
Once your number is prominently displayed on your [high efficiency] refrigerator, do a serious inventory of your home. You can lower your energy use in two ways.
For energy conserving habits, think like your grandparents or even great-grandparents. Turn off lights. Hang and air dry your laundry. Air dry your hair, too! Chop your nuts by hand instead of taking out the food processor. Use a crock-pot. Unplug or turn off appliances which consume electricity even when not in use, like computers. Use fans instead of AC. Eliminate duplicate appliances – maybe you can get by with just one or two TVs. (Or eliminate the TV altogether and just watch shows online.) For those of you with old refrigerators in the garage or basement, be aware the older they are, the more power-guzzling. They are excellent targets for elimination, and PECO will even pay you to haul them away! (www.pecosmartideas.com)
Retrofitting appliances costs money, but you recoup it through lower bills. By now you certainly know about CFL or LED bulbs. If you hated the eerie light and delay of early CFL’s, give them another try, since they have vastly improved. It is amazing how infrequently they need to be changed. We have dozens around our home and have replaced only 1 or 2. Your oldest, highest consuming appliances should be the first on your replacement list. If you have an ancient dehumidifier running 24/7 in the basement, replace it with a new EnergyStar and that should lower you 10% right there.
Posted by Betsy Teutsch at 2:35 PM