Power Planning is a planning process that focuses on the consumer outcomes of CLARITY, COMPREHENSION, CHOICE, and CONTROL. Power Planning helps ensure that your clients get all the benefits of financial planning.
Utility companies are proposing a new pricing structure that would base part of a household’s electric bill on income. It’s an idea that could lower bills for all households but help low-income families the most.
Set Your Thermostat
During the winter months, the cost of heating and cooling your home can be significant. As your family may spend more time indoors due to the cooler weather and fewer daylight hours, this can cause an increase in energy usage, resulting in higher electricity bills. To combat this, using a programmable thermostat to monitor when your family is home and away can help reduce unnecessary energy usage and ultimately trim your electricity bill.
A good temperature to keep the house at is around 68 degrees in the daytime when you and your family are active. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lowering the temperature by a few degrees at night and during sleep can result in up to a 5% annual savings on heating bills.
Suppose electric company in Arlington TX offers smart metering or time-of-use pricing. In that case, you can get even more energy-saving benefits by aligning your usage with peak and off-peak hours. Some utility companies offer a program that allows you to assist the city by turning your air conditioner up during high-demand periods in exchange for discounts on your electric rates.
If you have a smart thermostat, most offer a “set” or “program” button that displays a clock and up and down arrows to allow you to set your schedule. Begin by writing out a daily family schedule, including each person’s school and work hours.
Turn Off Unnecessary Lights
Leaving lights on in empty rooms uses considerable energy and can quickly add to high electricity bills. Great news! Simple actions like turning off lights when not in use can save you money on your electricity bill. Additionally, it helps decrease carbon emissions and prolongs the lifespan of your light bulbs.
According to a recent survey by Cornell University, the average household could save up to $60,000 per year by making a few simple adjustments in their light usage. This includes not keeping lights on when rooms are unoccupied and using dimmers instead of brighter settings.
To calculate how much you can save by turning off unnecessary lights, first figure out how many watts each of your light bulbs uses (you can find this information on the packaging or by looking up the wattage online). Then multiply that number by your electricity rate per kWh to get your savings estimate. For example, a 40-watt bulb used 0.04 kWh in one hour, so that the total savings would be around 0.4 cents.
You can further increase your savings by limiting the use of LEDs, which are the most efficient and cost-effective, over incandescent or halogen bulbs, which are less efficient. Additionally, you can decorate with lighter colors that reflect more light dust, clean your fixtures regularly, and use dimmer switches to set the mood without increasing energy usage.
Turn Off Appliances When Not in Use
Many appliances around your home use electricity even when they aren’t turned on. This is known as standby power, vampire energy, shadow load, idle current, or phantom electricity, and it sucks up about 10% of your monthly electric bill.
This electricity consumption can be eliminated by simply unplugging devices when they aren’t being used. This is a simple, easy, and cost-effective way to reduce your energy usage, which will help you save money on your electricity bill.
If you are unsure what items are using a lot of energy or which are the biggest offenders, an electricity monitor can be a great tool to discover this. These handheld tools plug into any outlet, giving you a wattage reading for that specific device. This will let you know how much it costs to run and what the appliance uses in a day/week/month/year.
You can start by checking your electronics, such as DVD players, VCRs, PVRs, and chargers plugged in all the time but not in use. Unplugging these devices will reduce phantom electricity usage and protect your appliances from damage and possibly a fire. You can also invest in smart power strips that can slash your phantom electricity usage by cutting off the current when you’re not using any of the devices connected to them.
Leaving electronics plugged in uses electricity, even when they are turned off. This is called phantom power use and can add up to 25 percent of your bill. Unplugging devices can save energy, money and extend the life of appliances.
Some items that should be unplugged are laptops, desktop computers, printers, fax machines, docking stations, instruments, electric toothbrushes, and gaming consoles. However, it would help if you did not unplug large kitchen appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, and microwaves because they consume little to no energy when turned off.
Instead, unplug small kitchen appliances and electronics that are not in use, like mixers, high-tech toaster ovens, blenders, and coffee makers. It is also smart to plug your kitchen appliances into a surge protector, stopping electricity from flowing through the socket when unused.
To see how much energy you are wasting, try purchasing an electricity monitor that can plug into your appliances and give you a snapshot of their current usage. Alternatively, you can switch from incandescent light bulbs to LEDs, which only use a fraction of the energy and last longer. And be sure to keep your thermostat set to a reasonable temperature and replace older devices with more efficient models. Making a few easy changes can significantly cut your electric bills and help reduce the power demand.