Five Ways to Cut Down on Energy Costs This Winter



It’s easy to reduce our impact on the planet and save money by implementing low-cost measures to use energy more efficiently. Here are five tips to stay warm his winter without emptying our wallets.

Little leaks can equal big losses: Heat escapes quickly through gaps, leaks and worn weather-stripping around doors and windows. If drafts are detected, replace foam weather stripping and seal windows with rope caulking. Block air from creeping under the threshold with door draft stoppers, which sell for about $10.

Take advantage of nature’s heater: Keep shades, blinds and drapes open during the day to gain the sun’s warming heat. Close window treatments when the sun isn’t shining.

Adjust the thermostat: While sleeping or away from home, simply turning the thermostat back seven to 10 degrees from its normal setting can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating.

Maintenance: Keep furnaces clean and unblocked, and check air filters monthly. Dirty filters can cut down on the unit’s efficiency.

Carefully research electricity plans: Consumers can end up paying a much higher rate than the average market rate with so-called “teaser” rates. A common example of this rate is nights and evenings free. Generally, with plans involving a teaser rate, the average and/or actual rate a consumer pays is an average of the usage during the $0 rate free period and the undiscounted rate for that company.

For example, if the undiscounted rate is 14 cents per kilowatt-hour and the total monthly usage is 500-kilowatt hours, of which 150 of those were free, then the average cent per kilowatt hour rate for that month would be $9.8 cents per kilowatt hour—this is the number to compare with other market rates. When considering a plan with any type of teaser rate, ask about average rates paid by customers with teaser rates.

Here’s a current example of 12-month fixed rates for a sampling of retail electric providers in North Texas (without teasers, introduction rates or other temporary incentives):

Electricity Provider

Published 12 month fixed rate per 1000/2000 KWH

Energy Source - Renewable

TXU

7.9cents/10.4cents

6% renewable

Reliant

11.5cents/11.5cents

10% renewable

Green Mountain

12/6cents/12.4cents

100 % renewable

Champion

7.9cents/7.6cents

12% renewable

Breeze Energy

7.8cents/7.5cents

100% renewable

 

 

 

 

Rate comparison source: Public Utility Commission of Texas, PowertoChoose.org.

 

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