How To Not Suck… At Lowering Your Utility Bills

How To Not Suck… At Lowering Your Utility Bills

Stick what in my toilet? Let what hang out? Recycle… what? So many questions and so many odd suggestions, all in the name of trimming your utility bills. There are plenty of things you can do to cut costs. And with the cold weather coming — or already here for many of us — it’s a great time to see what you can do to stay warmer and save some cash. [More]

Solar Power Becoming More Affordable, Realistic

Solar Power Becoming More Affordable, Realistic

Engineers and manufacturers are ever-so-slowly getting better at helping you siphon electricity from that massive power generator 93 million miles away. Due in part to technological advances and growing demand, solar power is starting to grow a little more mainstream and practical. [More]

Phoenix Suburb Plans To Turn Dog Waste Into Electricity

Phoenix Suburb Plans To Turn Dog Waste Into Electricity

(Warning: This post includes Tucson-Phoenix sh*t talking). I’m not sure what sort of reputation the Phoenix area has in the rest of the country, but those in my hometown of Tucson associate the locality with dog excrement. Officials in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert are making the best of their bumper crop by planning to use dog poop as a power source for a street lamp at a dog park. [More]

Cable Boxes Slurp More Electricity Than Refrigerators

Cable Boxes Slurp More Electricity Than Refrigerators

The biggest energy hog in your house is probably sitting right under your TV. That little ol’ set-top box could be using up more electricity in your house than your refrigerator or central air conditioning, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council. [More]

Block Cuts Electricity Use By 15% By Chalking Meter Readings On Street

Block Cuts Electricity Use By 15% By Chalking Meter Readings On Street

Residents of one block in Brighton in the UK are tracking their electricity usage via a giant infographic graffitied onto the street. In the three weeks the project has been running, electricity use has dropped 15%. Amazing the great good a little bit of feedback can do! In America people would probably just compete to see how big they could make the electricity drain go. [More]

Researcher: Wii Is The Most Power-Hungry Current Game Machine

Researcher: Wii Is The Most Power-Hungry Current Game Machine

When stacked up alongside the Xbox 360 and PS3, the Wii appears to be small and innocent, but a Carnegie Mellon PhD candidate’s research finds that the diminutive console is something of a power-hungry vampire compared to the current iterations of its competitors. [More]

Seagate Replaces Suspiciously Sparking Power Plug

Seagate Replaces Suspiciously Sparking Power Plug

It’s a common theme in “above and beyond” posts: a customer contacts a company asking where he or she can buy a certain small part for their widget, and the company sends the part for free–or a new widget entirely. Today, we honor Seagate, which sent globe-trotting academic Donna a new power cord and international plug thingies for her external hard drive when her American plug began to misbehave. [More]

We're Actually Using Less Electricity This Summer

We're Actually Using Less Electricity This Summer

Despite the record-breaking heat in some parts of the country, total U.S. energy consumption this summer has actually fallen compared to 2009, and peak demand levels–when electricity consumption is at its highest–have dropped as well. [More]

Bloom Box Can Supposedly Power A Small Home, But You Can't Afford It

Bloom Box Can Supposedly Power A Small Home, But You Can't Afford It

60 Minutes has reported on a new fuel cell product called a Bloom Box, a big metal box containing a small stack of ceramic disks and “ink” that can supposedly provide enough power to run a Starbucks. The big questions are: Does it work? And will it ever help the average homeowner save on energy costs? Google has supposedly been using four of them to power one of its data centers for the past 18 months, so yes to the first question. As for home use, a Bloom Box currently costs over $700,000, so no. Inventor K.R. Sridhar optimistically says he wants to get the price to under $3,000 in the next 5 to 10 years, though. Watch the 60 Minute segment below. [More]

Home Improvement Books Recalled

Home Improvement Books Recalled

The publisher of a series of home improvement books has announced a recall of nine of them, because of errors in their instructions on installing or repairing electrical wiring. The Consumer Products Safety Commission says no injuries have been reported so far even though the books have been published since 1975, which I think proves that nobody has ever actually attempted a project from any home improvement book. [More]

Watch Out For Fire Hazardy Knock-Off Christmas Lights

Watch Out For Fire Hazardy Knock-Off Christmas Lights

CBS’s The Early Show aired a segment last Friday about counterfeit holiday lights and extension cords, mostly from China and mostly available at dollar stores, that can cause fires. The problem is that the manufacturers use shoddy materials, and sometimes even fake UL stickers, to give the impression that they’re following safety guidelines. You find out they’re not when your tree goes up in flames. [More]

Michigan Utility Company Must Refund $39 Million To Overcharged Customers

Michigan Utility Company Must Refund $39 Million To Overcharged Customers

In Michigan, utilities can increase rates without first getting approval, but that means the Michigan Public Service Commission can later reduce them. That’s what happened on Monday, when the Commission ordered Consumers Energy to refund about $39.6 million to customers it overcharged since last May.

California May Pass Nation's First Energy Consumption Regulation On Big Screen TVs

California May Pass Nation's First Energy Consumption Regulation On Big Screen TVs

As soon as next month, California may become the first state to implement energy consumption rule for big screen TV sets similar to the ones for refrigerators and air conditioners. A trade group has been adamantly opposing it, reports the Los Angeles Times, but hasn’t found much sympathy from the California Energy Commission, which may be able to avoid building a $600 million natural gas power plant if they can cut back on energy guzzling sets.

PG&E Charges $1000/Month For Electricity Used In The 70's

PG&E Charges $1000/Month For Electricity Used In The 70's

PG&E has decided to start billing Josh’s parents for electricity from the 1970′s, to the tune of nearly $1000 per month.

Ohio Public Utilities Commission Delays Potentially Evil Expensive Light Bulb Program

Ohio Public Utilities Commission Delays Potentially Evil Expensive Light Bulb Program

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission has announced that they are asking FirstEnergy, the utlility company that was going to force its customers to pay $10.80 per light bulb as part of an energy-saving program, to delay the implementation of said program until they can figure out what the %#$& was going on.

FirstEnergy Forces Light Bulbs On Customers For $10.80 Each

FirstEnergy Forces Light Bulbs On Customers For $10.80 Each

Hey, who doesn’t like to get free stuff from the power company? So it’s awfully nice of Ohio utility FirstEnergy to deliver compact fluorescent bulbs to their customers’ homes. Except for the part where the bulbs aren’t free, and customers are being forced to pay nearly five times the retail price of the bulbs.

Lower Energy Prices Could Mean Lower Electric Bills For Consumers, Or Maybe Not

Lower Energy Prices Could Mean Lower Electric Bills For Consumers, Or Maybe Not

Having trouble paying your high power bill? The law of supply and demand may be your friend. Americans’ electricity use is decreasing for the first time since 1949. (Maybe it’s all those compact fluorescent bulbs.) This means that your electric bill could be slightly lower in the coming months…or at least not increase as much as usual.

Save On Cooling Costs By Installing A White Roof

Save On Cooling Costs By Installing A White Roof

The New York Times says a white roof on your house “can cost as little as 15 percent more than its dark counterpart” yet “reduce air-conditioning costs by 20 percent or more in hot, sunny weather.” This is because, scientifically speaking, the color white hates the stupid sun and won’t have anything to do with it.