You’ve probably heard the dire warnings from Commonwealth Edison about electricity prices going through the roof. That could put a crimp in your budget. But there are things you can do to reduce the amount of electricity that you use and the size of your monthly bill. Even better, the changes in habits may be able to pay off for years if you’re using less electricity.
First, the ComEd programs:
- Real-Time Pricing. Under this plan, your rate changes with overall electricity demand. When the prices spike, you receive an email or text, and then you can choose to use less electricity during those times. We’ve had this for years with no trouble and plenty of savings.
- Central AC Pricing: This is another ComEd program that we have participated in for years. You give the company the right to turn off the compressor on your central air conditioner to prevent blackouts. The shut-off takes place by remote control. Only the compressor shuts down; the fan keeps working to circulate air. In exchange for the right to turn the unit off for up to three hours on a weekday, you’ll receive a $10 credit per month from June through September. Our compressor has been shut down twice in ten years, for fewer than three hours each time.
- Efficiency rebates: ComEd offers a bounty for recycling old refrigerators, rebates on new air conditioning and furnaces, and loans for certain energy efficiency upgrades. If you’ve been thinking that it’s cheaper to pay more in electricity than to upgrade your air conditioner, this may be the time to think again.
Why does ComEd offer these programs? It saves money to pay you to use less electricity than for the company to build more capacity or deal with the customer service headaches of a blackout.
Now that you have savings in hand from ComEd, you want to find ways to use less electricity this summer. In general, the items in your house that use the most energy are those that produce heat or cold. Yes, you can save electricity by unplugging your phone after it’s charged, but you won’t save much.
- Keep the kids from hanging out with the refrigerator door open. In the morning, stock a picnic cooler with whatever drinks and snacks they are allowed to have, and then make them go to the cooler instead of the fridge.
- If you have an electric oven, try using it less. Microwaves and crock pots use far less electricity and keep the kitchen cooler. Food Network has a ton of slow cooker recipes.
- Turn your air conditioner up a few degrees. If you are wearing a sweater in the house, it is too cold.
- Close the blinds during the day in rooms that you are not using, to keep the sun from warming the rooms up too much.