By: Billy BeerSlugger
Federal Rate caps on electricity expire on the first of the new year. That means that electricity rates will go up about 20% this January.
PECO says right now the price for electricity per kilowatt hour is about 15-cents. The average household uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours a month,or roughly 150-dollars per month. The rate increase could add to your bill as much as 30-dollars!
Not a huge amount of press has been made about this though I have heard radio commercials as far back as January 2009. One thing for sure is that there will be a large public outcry coming February about how much people’s bills are and how they are too poor to afford it. I’d think that the local news stations would start alerting the general public on a more frequent basis at the end of November and through January. Of course PECO probably has been alerting people via their monthly statements for some time now so it shouldn’t be a shock. However, it will be a shock. I can foresee about 10-15 news stories in the Philadelphia area with interviews from residents who say they can’t afford the increases in electric and that they weren’t properly notified about the increases.
So now especially would be as good a time as any to start good habits to save yourself electricity and money like:
- Turning off unnecessary lights and fans.
- Unplug unnecessary appliances like a toaster, blender and can opener.
- Turn your refrigerator down to around 37 degrees. Refrigerators can account for about 20% of household electric use.
- Set your clothes washer to the warm or cold water setting, not hot.
- Make sure your dishwasher is full when you run it and use the energy saving setting, if available, to allow the dishes to air dry. You can also turn off the drying cycle manually. Not using heat in the drying cycle can save 20 percent of your dishwasher’s total electricity use.
- Turn down your water heater thermostat. Thermostats are often set to 140 degrees F when 120 is usually fine.
- Use Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. CFL’s 1/4 the energy of an ordinary incandescent bulb and lasting 8-12 times longer.
- Replace dirty Air Filters in your Heating and Air Conditioning system and it will run more efficiently, saving you money.
These tips are slightly more costly but pay off in the long run:
- Insulate your walls and ceilings. This can save 20 to 30 percent of home heating bills. (During construction)
- Modernize your windows. Replacing all your ordinary windows with argon filled, double-glazed windows can save a lot of money. I believe these are also tax deducible.
- Replace outdated appliances with new Energy saving ones. (I think this is also a tax credit)
- Use less hot water by installing low-flow shower heads.
- Caulk and weatherstrip your windows.
Remember any amount of reduction in consumption of Electricity is also a reduction in your carbon footprint. Save electricity, save money, help the environment.