By Guest Blogger Suzanne Grant, APR - Progress Energy Spokesperson/Lead Communications Specialist
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (August 11, 2010) – Saving energy and money on your electric bill can be quick, easy and free. While investments such as high-efficiency air conditioners and insulation may conserve more energy, those types of improvements can require an investment of several hundred to several thousand dollars. In today’s economy, many customers are looking for free ways to trim their electric bills.
Progress Energy Florida efficiency expert Malcolm Barnes, manager of demand side management – field operations, says small, no-cost changes can add up to significant savings.
“The biggest energy savings can come from a simple adjustment to the thermostat,” says Barnes. “Setting the thermostat to the optimal temperature – which means 78 degrees instead of 74 during warmer months – can save an average household more than $300 a year in cooling costs.”
Progress Energy calculates that for every degree the thermostat is set above 78, customers can save 10 percent more on their cooling costs.
The simple act of turning off the lights when leaving a room can also help lower energy bills.
“In fact, eliminating four hours of daily use of four, 60-watt bulbs, the number often contained in a ceiling fan light fixture, can save more than $45 in energy costs over the course of a year,” says Barnes. “Considering that the average home contains 45 light bulbs, turning off frequently used lights can result in substantial savings.”
Turning off lights and adjusting the thermostat are two easy, free, energy-efficiency changes. Progress Energy efficiency experts encourage customers to make additional simple and no-cost modifications to lower energy use and save money:
- Wash clothes in cold water and save up to 50 cents per load. Dry clothes on a line outdoors and save even more.
- Check the setting on your hot water tank. Temperatures above 120 degrees can waste energy and money. Turning down the dial on your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 can result in savings of up to $85 per year. Don’t forget to switch the tank off if you are going away for a few days.
- Change your thermostat fan switch to the “auto” setting from the “on” position and save up to $25 a month.
- Match your pot size to the stove burner. Heat is lost when small pots are used on large burners. According to the U.S Department of Energy, when using an electric range you can save about $35 a year by cooking in the right size pot. If you have copper-bottomed pots and pans, use them as they heat more efficiently.
- Keep your refrigerator running efficiently by regularly cleaning the coils. Shop in bulk and stock up during sales or freeze containers of water to keep your freezer full. A full freezer uses less energy than an empty one. And, consider getting rid of that old, inefficient, second refrigerator or freezer running out in the hot garage. Chances are you can do without it and you can save $150-$200 or more year depending on its size and age, according to the U.S Department of Energy.
- Sign up for Progress Energy’s EnergyWise HomeSM and receive credits on your electric bill of up to $147 a year. EnergyWise Home is a free program that temporarily cycles power off and on to select electrical equipment such as water heaters, pool pumps, and heating and cooling systems during periods of high electricity demand. Learn how to qualify at savethewatts.com.
Progress Energy offers its customers educational opportunities, services and technology to help them conserve electricity and manage their bills. The company’s free Home Energy Check, an electricity audit of your home, can be done online, on the phone or in person. Visit http://www.progress-energy.com/shared/stw/index.aspto complete an online energy check and for instant access to more than 100 ways you can start reducing energy use and saving money today.
Progress Energy understands the pressures from the downturn in the economy and is committed to meeting its customers’ energy needs in the most efficient and affordable manner possible.
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles, including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit http://www.progress-energy.com/.
Note: Yearly savings listed above are estimates based on the typical home of approximately 1850 square feet with an annual kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage of 15,538 and are calculated at $0.13/kWh for simplification. Actual saving may differ from the above estimates due to various in weather, individual energy use habits and home characteristics. Calculations are based upon engineering assumptions from Progress Energy Florida, Department of Energy and Energy Star.