Electricity is more than just a simple convenience; for many it’s a necessity, especially those who rely on life-support machines. Living without electricity would be impossible for most of us, whether out of convenience or necessity, and to that end, we all pay for electric service.
For those who find it hard to afford the monthly electricity bill, take heart–there are several ways to save money on your utility bill. Watch out for hidden fees, shop around for the best deals, and manage your electrical usage in order to reduce your bill.
Escape Hidden Charges and Fees
Typically, an electricity company will present you with all the conveniences they offer, leaving out the negative features and hidden charges. In a new report, Texas Electricity Consumers, Beware of REP Fees, Carol Biedrzycki, a consumer advocate, analyzes fees charged by over 40 different electric providers from 2011 to 2013.
Some hidden charges to look out for include:
- Reconnection Fee – charged for reconnecting after a disconnection
- Payment Fee – charged for payments made via phone or internet
- Insufficient Usage Fee – charged for using too little energy
- Reminder/Notice Fee – charged for sending a payment reminder, or termination of service notice
If you find a company without hidden costs, do not drop your guard until the bill comes – check how much you have been charged to see that it corresponds to your electricity usage.
Shop Around for the Best Deal
One of the easiest ways to save money on your electric bill is to comparison shop online for the best deal. There are many sites that can help you determine which electric company in your zip code has the lowest cost per kilowatt.
Click here to find out which local electric companies can offer you the best price in your area. A lower price per kilowatt hour is the fastest way to save money on your bill.
Manage Your Electric Usage
The amount you pay for your electricity usage will largely depend on how much electricity you use. As such, you should always try to prevent unnecessary usage. Use the following tips to help reduce excess usage.
- • Use energy-saving bulbs. CFL bulbs use only a fraction of the watts used by ordinary incandescent bulbs; consequently, they cost much less to use and can lower your electricity bills by up to a third. What’s more, they are brighter and last longer than ordinary bulbs.
- • Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances. Energy efficient appliances use less power and perform better than your old appliances. Replace broken appliances with new Energy Star rated appliances. Also, upgrade to a digital thermostat to regulate the temperature, preventing waste.
- • Use natural heating and cooling measures. When it is hot, ensure that the house is always aerated by opening the windows and using fans to circulate the air. Keep blinds drawn to block out sun rays that can heat your space. When it’s cold, insulate your walls and seal off all the openings to prevent the warm air in the house escaping. Also, use thick rugs to prevent the cold ground from cooling the air.
- • Limit “vampire drain”. Electronics and appliances that are plugged in drain energy even when they are not in use. USA Today recommends investing in smart power strips and unplugging electronic devices when not in use.
These are just some tips to help you reduce your electricity usage and effectively lower your electric bills. Always be conscious of how much electricity you use to avoid wastage. For the energy you do use, make sure you’re getting the best rate and avoiding excess charges.