Savings

Rosie at home: 7 steps to big savings on your electricity bill | Home & Garden

Rosie Romero special for the Arizona Daily Star

We’ve been touting the benefits of supercooling for years. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Arizonans have learned from “Rosie on the House” how to supercool their homes during the summer to reduce the cost of their electric bills.

In addition to supercooling, there are seven concepts for your monthly utility bill that could help you reduce costs throughout the year, whether you supercool your home or not. It will be helpful to have your latest utility bill handy for reference when reading.

Now let’s move on to saving energy and money.

1. Forget fees and taxes

There are nearly 20 separate charges or taxes listed on your electricity bill. They are a distraction you should ignore. Fees and taxes are all part of what you pay for your electricity, and always have been. There is no point in getting angry about these accusations because there is nothing you can do about it. There are other actions you can perform instead. Find out what these fees mean by scrolling down to step #7.

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2. Find out your cost per kWhTake the “Total Charge for Electricity Services” shown on the bill and divide it by the total number of kilowatt hours your home has used. The calculation will give you what you pay on average per kilowatt hour for electricity. If you’re paying 12 to 14 cents per kWh, you’re doing an average job and controlling your bill pretty well. If you’re using 10 cents per kWh or less, you’re doing a great job. But if you have a cost of 15 to 16 cents per kWh, you could do better.

Look at this Tucson Electric Power customer’s cost per kWh – she paid 17 cents per kWh, resulting in an electric bill of $552. It almost doubled its kWh consumption in one month. It turns out that the coils in his air conditioning system weren’t working properly, making the system more efficient and consuming more energy.

3. Get rid of your standard plan

If you have an expensive bill, you’re probably on the standard utility rate plan, which means you’re paying a high price per kWh every hour of the day. Many customers accidentally subscribe to these plans when they first call the utility to start service. These plans charge the same average rate every hour of the day, and they work best for a single person living in a house or apartment of 1,000 square feet or less.

The TEP customer who paid 17 cents that month had subscribed to a basic package and had always paid 17 cents. She just switched to the demand life plan. We are interested to see his electricity bills after the new tariff comes into force and the repair of his air conditioning.

4. Go for a time-based rate plan A high kWh cost often means you’re probably not on an economical, time-based rate plan. Call your utility and ask to get one as soon as possible. You should also be able to do this online by logging into your account.

The goal is to use more electricity during hours when tariffs are low. Keep the air conditioning on longer during the weekends. Do laundry and baking in the morning or after 7 or 8 p.m. when rates are lower.

“I’ve yet to hear of a customer whose bills didn’t go down after they switched to a time-of-use plan,” says Steve Koepp of Advanced Home Systems. , Inc. in Phoenix, a company that helps homeowners control utilities. costs. Rosie adds that he knows of only one owner whose invoice did not come with a usage plan. A little investigation revealed that there was a Tesla that was plugged in for fast charging during peak hours – its bill was a pain!

5. Continue the search

After switching plans, your bill will show how many kWh you used during peak hours and during off-peak hours. Peak hours should only represent 20-25% of your bill. You’re doing really well if it’s 12-15% for peak hours. With all utilities, you should continue to divide the total loads by the total kWh. One woman successfully reduced her maximum usage to 2%. Its year-over-year bill for the month of June was reduced by 50%. As she learned to live with electricity during off-peak hours, she went from an initial $12 a day to $6 a day. We all have places where we would rather spend our money than at the utility company.

6. Stop budgeting for EQ plans

These plans charge you the same amount each month for electricity rather than sending larger bills in the warm season and smaller bills in the colder months. This process relieves some of the pain of bills in the summer when your air conditioning increases your costs. But they can be a bad solution because you tend to waste energy if you think your bill will never change. Moreover, if your energy consumption increases one year, the average monthly bill will be higher the following year than last year.

Another problem: If a malfunctioning device starts drawing excessive power, like a pool pump, for example, you might not notice the problem for months while you’re on an equalization plan.

An equalization plan also makes it harder to track what you’re spending per kWh.

7. Perform an energy audit of your home

What good is your lifespan plan if cold air is leaking through the gaps in your doors and windows?

A home energy audit specialist will test your home and air conditioning system for leaks and other inefficiencies. The auditor can bring a thermal camera to help detect unusual heating patterns – a symptom of poor insulation. A blower door test will determine how airtight your home is.

Other charges on your electricity bill

Here are some of the more confusing fees and what they pay:

Renewable Energy Standards Tariff: A mandatory, non-bypassable surcharge applied to all energy consumed by all customers throughout a company’s electrical service area.

Surcharge for environmental benefits: Pays for programs approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission, including energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Federal supplement for the improvement of the environment: Pays for environmental improvements at APS facilities that were federally mandated.

System Benefit Fee: Pays for low-income user assistance, customer education, environmental programs, long-term public benefit research, nuclear fuel disposal and decommissioning of nuclear power plants, and other programs.

Franchise fees: Fee charged by a city or county for utility using public rights of way.

Power adjustment: Passes rapid fuel changes and other energy costs onto the consumer.

Regional transport office tax: Funds transportation projects such as road expansions and safety upgrades.

ACC Regulatory Assessment: Helps fund the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Residential Utility Consumer’s Office.

Federal Transmission and Auxiliary Services: Pays to move high voltage electricity from generating facilities to the utility such as Tucson Electric Power.

Federal transportation cost adjustment: This fee takes into account the annual variations in transmission costs to serve customers. It is based on your kWh consumption.

Four corner adjustment: APS purchased Four Corners Units 4 and 5, which are part of a power plant near Farmington, New Mexico, previously owned by Southern California Edison. This tax helps pay for that.

LFCR or Lost Fixed Cost Recovery Adjuster: These charges are the result of a 2012 settlement of a rate case that was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission. It helps finance the operation of the electricity network while allowing customers to use this network when needed.

Tax expenditure adjustment mechanism: Adjuster that offers a reduction in customer bills based on recent changes to the federal corporate income tax rate. (A discount! We love this one.)

A simple change of plan and adjustment of your energy consumption can result in significant savings. These are great action items that cost you nothing.

An investment in a programmable thermostat will pay for itself in just a few months.

Send your before and after energy bills so we can see your savings to [email protected]

An expert in the Arizona home construction and renovation industry since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning show Rosie on the House, which airs locally from 10-11 a.m. on KNST (790- AM) in Tucson and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KGVY (1080-AM) and (100.7-FM) in Green Valley.