Alternative energy sources such as solar and wind have become more a part of our lives as advancing technology has made them increasingly viable. Energy industry deregulation has enabled these renewable energy companies to enter the market and compete with traditional power suppliers.
But how does it affect us as individuals and consumers? As alternative electricity for your business or home becomes price-competitive, you’ll begin to consider the advantages of switching over. In the meantime, there are a number of interim ways to cut your energy costs. One that has become increasingly common is the smart meter. Around 50 million smart meters of them have been installed on homes across the United States. That represents about 43% of total residences.
About 19% of your home electricity bill is the cost of air conditioning. Simply installing a programmable thermostat can reduce that expense by approximately 10% every year. Another major factor affecting how much you pay is your water heater, which accounts for 14 to 18% of your total utility bill. Try turning off its breaker when you’re asleep or at work. If that results in significant savings, consider buying a water heater timer.
Usage varies by household, of course, but the average American’s monthly electricity usage is 903 kilowatt hours. That translates to a bill of about #107. Before considering alternative energy sources, you’ll need to know how much they will save you on an ongoing basis and how long it will take to amortize their cost of installation and/or equipment.
In some circumstances, it may become feasible for homeowners or businesses to become entirely self-sufficient in terms of electricity by relying on wholly-owned sources such as large solar installations.
Over the next few years, we can expect to see increasing application of alternative energy sources as our society attempts to wean itself from the use of fossil fuels and coal to generate power. But even now, we should all endeavor to do what we can to reduce unnecessary use of electricity.
It just makes good sense, in terms of both our wallets and our environment.