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.
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.
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.
This is the weirdest weather map you’ve ever seen. Sort of. It shows the solar power capacity of different regions of the U.S. It’s the coolest-looking slide from an interactive map compiled by NPR to illustrate this week’s series about America’s power grid. It shows power sources and where they’re located, and also the larger infrastructure that carries our electricity from those sources to our homes.
Nashville Electric Service (NES) decided it would be a good idea to round up each customer’s bill to the nearest dollar, then take that extra change to donate to charity. It’s a great idea, and since the total amount donated per year can’t exceed $11.88, it’s not a hardship on most people. But there are a few problems. First, NES chooses the charities, if that matters to you. What’s more troublesome is that NES plans to opt-in every customer when the program begins on January 2009 without asking for explicit permission—if you pay your electricity bill through NES, you’ll donate to their charities next year, thank you very much.
Energy is expensive. Electricity bills are expected to jump as much as 29% this summer in some areas of the US. [USAToday]
In New York, residents can choose to buy their energy from competing energy supply companies, or ESCOs. The idea is you can end up saving money by choosing from a field of competitors. In reality, says the New York Times, your energy bills frequently increase, and when you try to switch again you might be charged a contract termination fee.
Save some money by re-using your existing strings of light this Christmas—even if they’re currently acting all wonky. Here are some handy guides on how to repair dark strings of Christmas lights, whether they’re LED or the classic incandescent type. They’re fairly detailed, with a sort of techy “how things work” vibe, but contain a lot of useful information. For example, just because a string of incandescents has an AC outlet at the end, that doesn’t make it an extension cord—the more power you pull through the cord, the greater the current and the higher the risk of shorting out bulbs.
We’ve talked about these before, but we really like the idea of keeping our chargers neat and organized and the boxes people are making seem to be getting more and more advanced. This box also has the benefit of multiple switches so you can easily cut power to whatever device you have plugged in, should that be your desire. Nifty.
“The introduction of our Great Value bulbs make CFLs a more accessible option for our shoppers as we strive to sell 100 million CFLs by the end of 2007,” said Wal-Mart General Merchandise Manager Andy Barron in a statement.
Trent at thesimpledollar.com is on a mission to cut the extra fat from his budget, and he’s found that one step is to reduce the amount of unused power that goes into his home. Everything you leave plugged in continues to draw a small amount of power, and although the cost for these small drains is minimal on a per-item basis, they can add up faster than you think.
When Robert Hancock of Carterville, IL got his monthly power bill, it made him mad. Why? Because it was $526.62—up 200% from the previous month.
Michael Garrett (pictured)- CEO – Georgia Power – 404-506-7733 (Mickey’s boss)