I’m pissed. I thought monopolies were illegal in the United States. That’s obviously not true since no matter where you live, you can only use the energy company in your neighborhood. Since there is no competition, energy companies can charge whatever they damn well please and you have to pay or else a) freeze to death, or b) roast to death—it just depends on what season it is.

Here in central Florida, our monopolistic energy company is Progress Energy. Every summer/fall they fleece me for an average of $350 dollars a month (May-November). The other months I’m usually able to squeak by with a bill around $250. That was before the 25% rate increase. Want to know what my energy bill in December was?


Let me say it again.


For ONE MONTH’S WORTH OF NON-SUMMER-NO-AIR-CONDITIONING energy. That’s what a 25% rate increase adds up to. Have I mentioned that I’m pissed? Unfortunately, being pissed won’t pay my energy bill. Nor will it help bring the charges down in the months to come. Since PE probably won’t be scaling their rates back any time soon, I have to do what I can to give them less of my money.

So I’ve done a little research and found some easy and inexpensive ways to cut back. (And BTW, these are all good for the environment, too 😛 )

  1. TURN EVERYTHING (EVERYTHING) OFF. If it glows when the lights are off, it’s using energy. Electronics chargers, AV receivers, cable boxes, even a toaster with a digital clock. They are all energy suckers. Anywhere between 6-30% of your electric bill can be blamed on these types of electronics. I’m guessing we’re in upwards of the 30% range—3 iPods, 1 Nintendo DS, 2 laptops, 1 desktop, a gazillion computer peripherals, 2 cell phones, etc., etc., etc. And remember, if it’s not plugged in and being charged, unplug the charger. If you’re not using it. Turn it off. Simple, yes?
  2. SWITCH TO CFLs. Did you know that of the $1 dollar a month it costs to light a regular lightbulb, .10 of that goes to actually light the bulb. The other .90 goes to the heat that bulb produces. The Department of Energy estimates that by changing even 25% of your lights to CFLs, you can cut your lighting bill in half. Oh, and when you’re not using it, turn it off.
  3. LOWER YOUR HOT WATER HEATER’S THERMOSTAT. Do you really need your hot water to be 150° F? Wouldn’t 120° F be hot enough? For every 10 degrees your lower that thermostat, you’ll save 3%-5% off your energy bill.
  4. AIR-DRY YOUR DISHES. I know your dishwasher has that option, and I know you run your dishwasher before you go to bed. So why not cut your dishwasher’s energy by 15%-50%? Want to save even more?
    • Scrape, don’t rinse. ((I’ll be posting on this soon!))
    • Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.

Following the tips above won’t make you rich, however, they will help to lower your energy bill and help the environment.

Looking for more?

Skip the hot water heater altogether and invest in a tankless water heater. These heat only the water you need, when you need it, and costs about 40% less to operate than an average hot water heater. (And they take up a lot less space.)

Can’t justify the expense of a tankless water heater? Insulate the one you have . You’ll cut your standby heat losses by 25%-45%.

I’ve employed most of the options above, especially since that last damn bill. Let’s see if January’s bill looks better.


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12 Comments on “Save energy, save money, be green”

  1. Yikes, this is extremely expensive. If I do a quick conversion my water and electricity bill is round about a tenth of your power bill. Our local currency is currently at roughly 10 to one US$. I pay about ZAR300 per month (approximately US$30). I know one cannot just translate the currencies directly like this as there are other factors that need to be considered but still. I used to complain about our monthly bill, from now on I will just be grateful and keep my mouth shut.

    May the power be with you. 😉

    • The power companies here have all the “power.” We’re very fortunate to have 2 incomes so when something like this happens, we can buckle down and cover the extra, but I have to wonder about the families with only one income, or worse, no income.

      What happens to them?

  2. Ours was about 125 more for December 2008. And now Duke Energy just got ok’d to pass on the wind storm damage to us end users! Always an uphill battle.

  3. 🙁 I don’t pay anything other my credit card bills so uhm… I can’t relate but I do know that amount is ridiculous! Nice tips Melissa – I hope they help you (since the electricity company obviously isn’t).

    • I’m moving to Canada and going to live with Fragileheart! 😛

      Sometimes I think it’s ridiculous the bills I pay–we are a family of 4, however. I’m not hopeful for January, since I’ve had to run the heat at night for the past week since it’s actually been below freezing here. Maybe Feb…

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  5. Nice post
    Everyone can save money in small and seemingly insignificant areas if you know how and where to do it.
    These are all great ideas
    Great tips! I’ll be coming back to learn more about saving money!

    • Since writing this post, I’ve been a stickler for turning EVERYTHING off. We’ve also turned off the heat drying feature of our dishwasher and we scrape our dishes, we don’t rinse them (which has been really hard for me to do 🙂 ).

      I’ve had 2 bills since the $426 bill. The month following that bill, it had gone down to $313, and our last bill was $296. These are still high, but I like the steady decline. There are a few more things we need to do to get even better, but I’m happy with where we are headed.

  6. Pingback: Scrape, don’t rinse! Tips for saving energy, water, and time. » The Web-Betty Blog

  7. Saving energy is saving money but so is water. “Saving water makes cents” With the price of water increacing everyday we need to focus on that as well. The toilet is one of the biggest places to start, take a looks at http://www.dualflushkit.com and see how you can start to save water and money. The second is the showerhead, buy a new water save one please.and of coarse time in the shower. Just a few changes like these and you could save $20.00 a month or more on your water bill.

    • I know this is basically a spam comment, however, at least this person adds something of value. 🙂 And his tips are good ones.

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