Thursday, August 12, 2010

Electric bill came today!

Wow, the SCE&G electric bill came by e-mail today and I was floored.  My bill was $269.62, and last month was a whopping $322.25.  In June, we moved into a 3 bedroom home with a bonus room and expected to see a large reduction in our utility costs, but that has not yet happened. On average we could end up spending over $3,500 a year on our electric bill.  So today I began to educate myself a little in order to help us cut costs in this area.  Did you know that approximately 46% of your electric bill is directly related to the heating and cooling of your home?  Right now our thermostat stays on 75 degrees at all times, which happens to be 3 degrees lower than the SCEG recommended temperature.

Upon doing a little research on the SCE&G website, I found out while the majority of your electric bill is related to the HVAC system, 14% is related to the water heater.  They recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher in the summertime, and state that for every degree lower that your thermostat is set you will undoubtedly pay at least 5% more in your electric costs.  Which means that having my thermostat set at 75 degrees is increasing my electric bill by at least 15% each month.  The site also recommends keeping interior doors open and utilizing any ceiling fans in your home, but if you leave the room, remember to turn them off.

On my July bill, the energy analyser on the SCE&G website shows that there were 18 days where the temperature reached over 90 degrees, on my August bill this number jumped to 25 days.  If interested the website even teaches you how to read your own meter, so if you wanted to check your billing each month, you definitely could do so by using the dates on your bill to read your own meter.  One thing that we do not yet own in our home is a programmable thermostat, but these are great for working adults because you can program your thermostat to operate at a higher or lower temperature when you are not at home, which could save you money in the long run.  At Lowes, these thermostats range anywhere from $29.00 to $120.00.

If you are in an extremely tight position and you are at risk for not being able to pay your electric bill, SCE&G offers a program where they can refer you to government programs designed to help you heat your home, these are only available for cooling your home in extremely rare cases.    Below is a letter from the President of SCE&G, that I found on the website:

In today’s economy, we’re all looking for ways to tighten our belts. As SCE&G is working to build new generation to continue meeting your energy needs, we’re also taking steps to cut costs in our day to day operations. I can’t think of a better time to share something that we have in common – finding ways to save money and still keep the household running, today and in the future.

"I know it may be hard to see how a big company like SCE&G and your own household budget compare. But controlling our operating costs is not so different from managing your monthly budget. It’s important that we’re cost conscious in everything we do. We owe that to you as a customer.

In 2009, we cut 40 million dollars in our operational and maintenance costs. Here are some of the other things we’ve done:

• eliminated 34 percent of our contract positions

• eliminated pay increases for two years straight for salaried employees

• limited the hiring of new employees

• offset nearly 77 percent of the cost of federally-mandated Lake Murray Backup Dam through tax credits, saving customers like you $254 million that we did not have to collect through rates

As SCE&G continues to serve South Carolina’s energy needs, we do it with you in mind every single day. That’s the bottom line and I wanted you to hear it from me. – Kevin Marsh, President, SCE"
Today I am turning my thermostat to 78 degrees, and I will be following the tips from the website in order to lower my electric bill, I will be sharing my rates again next month to see if it made a dent in my bill.

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