Many utility companies offer a budget billing plan to their customers. This basically means that you will end up paying a set amount each month for your utility bill. Your utility company will generally take an average of your past energy usage and estimate future gas or electric costs to come up with your monthly set amount. While this may seem like a great idea, you should carefully consider several things before enrolling.
First you should find out if a refund or credit will be issued if less energy is used. Some utility companies may not issue a refund if less power is used than planned. Additionally you may need to set aside extra money to cover the cost after the settle-up if more energy was used than the utility planned for.
Second you should also look at administration fees associated with the service. Many will charge a monthly fee. The fees will vary from utility to utility, but anything more than two or three dollars a month is too much for this service.
Third you should consider the contract that you sign when enrolling for the budget plan offered by your utility. There may be penalties applied if you move or turn off the service. For example you may end up paying extra when you move if you have used more power than was budgeted.
Fourth if you are enrolled with a Registered Energy Supplier such as Realgy Energy Services, it is important to find out if all charges will be covered under the budgeted amount. Some utilities will not allow for budgeting if the customer is enrolled with a supplier.
It is important that you fully understand what you are signing up for, check out your local utilities website before signing up for a budget plan or request to see a copy of the contract.
However, the easiest way to reduce your monthly utility bill would be to enroll with a Registered Energy Supplier to lower your energy rates, check out Realgy Energy Services rates for June 2012 and see how much you could be saving www.realgyenergyservices.com.
Written by Michael Vrtis President of Realgy Energy Services in response to the Forbes article “Fracking Is Misunderstood, It’s The Key To Energy Self-Sufficiency”
This article articulates that the US should embrace fracking on the basis that it can lead to energy independence. Given the free-trade mantra advocated for years if not decades I chuckle at the thought of independence in energy.
So what does fracking mean to you and the US?
- Fracking will evolve as a technique for extracting natural gas.
- Its impact on the US cannot be understated; this is like finding a Saudi Arabian natural gas field in our backyard!
- It has the potential to keep the US below the world market price for natural gas for decades to come (currently by almost $5.00 / Dth)
- Manufacturing will return to the US to take advantage of lower energy costs
- Air pollution will decrease in the Northeast US
- The EPA will regulate the fracking fluid and will require ground water and aquifer monitoring; this is a responsible position and will prevent restricting the fracking technique
Instead of politician trying to seek energy independence I would like to see them embrace natural gas and encourage its use as a transportation fuel. This will reducing oil imports of which 60% is used as transportation fuel.
Natural gas in one of the safest energy sources available; it is non-toxic and has no odor in its natural form. Natural gas will not ignite by itself, but combined with air and a spark it will catch fire.
When not burned completely natural gas produces carbon monoxide (CO), which can cause flu-like symptoms including:
headaches, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness or fatigue, burning eyes, confusion and loss of coordination
Over 10,000 people receive medical treatment and hundreds die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. In many cases, victims are aware they are not well, but become too disoriented to save themselves. Particularly vulnerable are pregnant women, small children, senior citizens and people with heart or respiratory problems.
It is always recommended to have a working CO detector in your home or business if you use natural gas as an energy source.
In its natural state natural gas has no smell, so your utility company adds a chemical odorant called methanethiol to help make natural gas leaks easier to detect. If you smell rotten eggs, it’s most likely not a well hidden Easter egg, but a natural gas leak, leave the building and call your Utility Company right away. You can find an emergency hotline on most utility invoices if there is not emergency number call the customer service number.
Learn more about Natural Gas Safety and Emergency Procedures:
Nipsco, Stay Safe “Natural Gas Leak Emergencies“
Semco Energy, Safety and Emergency Information “Reporting a Gas Leak”
DTE Energy, Safety “Natural Gas Safety”
Citizens Gas, Safety “If You Smell Gas”
Michigan Gas Utilities, “Emergency Procedures”
Nicor Gas, Safety “Emergency Information”
Consumers Energy, Safety “Gas Leaks and Safety Tips”
Peoples Gas, Safety “Emergency Procedures”
North Shore Gas, Safety “Emergency Procedures”
Standby or vampire power as it is most commonly referred to, wastes $10 Billion of Electricity Annually in the United States alone. The average US household has about 40 electronic devices that constantly draw small amounts of power.
- Laptop computer chargers
- answering and machines
- Computer printer
- TVs and cable boxes,
- VCRs, DVD players, DVD recorders, digital video recorders,
- phone and iPod chargers
- hubs and routers,
- video camera battery charger
- plugged-in electric toys
- night lights
Check out the Vampire Power Sucks website for tip on how to reduce vampire power.
Edit: January 2013 this website is no longer available. If you would like to learn more about Vampire Energy check out the Energy Star site:
Energy Star, Standby Power and Energy Vampires
According to The American Gas Association households that have natural gas appliances, such as cooking ranges, clothes driers and heaters save about $518 compared to homes that use electric appliances.
Benefits of using natural gas for key appliances includes:
Lower energy bills
Decrease in greenhouse emissions and pollutants (up to 37% less emissions compared to electric appliances)
Safety and Reliability
“The direct use of natural gas provides three times more useful energy to consumers than electricity,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA.
To read more about the benefits and savings of natural gas visit the American Gas Association website
The Department of Energy announced yesterday the most recent in a series of common-sense efficiency standards made by the Obama Administration. The newest efficiency standard focuses on residential clothes washers and dishwashers and will save consumers $20 billion in energy and water costs.
These new standards add to previous energy efficiency requirements and will go into effect in 2015 for clothes washers and 2013 for dishwashers.
Approximately 3% of residential energy use and more than 20% of indoor water use can be attributed to clothes washers and dishwashers.
The new standards will reduce the energy consumption for front-loading clothes washers by 15% and will cut water consumption by 35%.Top loading clothes washers will save 33% on energy and 19% on water use.Residential dishwashers will use about 15% less energy and more than 20% less water, directly providing consumers with savings on monthly bills.
Learn more about the energy and cost-saving standards adopted under the Obama Administration on the Department of Energy website