As we trudge through what can be the coldest and dreariest part of winter, we at Big Country Electric Cooperative wish to remind our members that the season’s chilly temperatures and shortened days frequently lead to increased electricity usage at home, which can cause uncomfortable spikes in electric bills. You can soften the blow by expecting at least a modest increase in power bills compared to bills from the fall, of course, and adjusting your household’s monthly budget to make up the difference. But you also can employ a few strategies to smooth out those upcoming bills.
Now that the holiday blitz of parties and gatherings is mostly behind us, elaborate dinners and dishes can take a back seat. Pull out your slow cooker from the back of your pantry and put it to work. Meals made in a slow cooker or pressure cooker typically use less energy than those cooked in a conventional oven. Plus, hearty stews and braised dishes make the perfect comforting accompaniments to a cold winter’s night.
Unplugging chargers that aren’t charging anything is another opportunity for significant savings. Once your cellphone, tablet or other device is fully charged, unplug the charger. Otherwise, it still draws a small but measurable amount of power that adds to your bill at no benefit to you or your electronics.
A final quick tip for hedging against billing peaks: If you don’t use a smart thermostat to control your home’s heating and air conditioning system, install one. If that’s not practical at the moment, make a habit of decreasing the temperature in your home by around 10 degrees before leaving for work in the morning and before turning in for the night. When the decrease in energy used for heating your home is sustained for eight hours, the savings really can add up.
As always, Big Country EC wants to partner with you in minimizing your energy spending while maximizing the value you derive from it.