Personal Finance By News Canada 549 Views

3 simple ways to save on energy costs this year

(NC) The energy that powers our homes is often a main reason for sky high monthly bills that many of us are struggling to afford. Here are some simple things you can do to help manage those costs.

Get back to basics
Reducing your energy consumption can help control how much energy you pay for. Classic tips can still make a difference, including shutting off lights when you leave the room, turning down the heat overnight and washing your clothes in cold water. These tips won’t be the only solution, but they are an important place to start. Tech improvements in recent years means tools like programmable power bars, lights and thermostats have come down in price, making it easier to make these habits mindless.

Make updates
If your home is older, it might be time to investigate some energy-efficient updates like installing low-energy appliances, replacing windows or improving insulation. New homes will still benefit from improving weather stripping features to avoid losing heated or cooled air.

A home energy audit can tell you where power is going to waste in your home so you can make the right changes. If you think you can’t afford to make updates, look into rebates and incentive programs set up by industry and levels of government. You might as well make use of them.

Re-evaluate your rate plan
There are only so many habits or upgrades you can do. Other market costs for electricity have changed dramatically over the last year or two. If you’re on the regulated rate option, or RRO, for electricity you may have noticed an increase in your monthly bills.

To avoid such volatile rates, you may want to choose a fixed rate for energy bills. In Alberta, residents can opt out of the RRO on their electricity bills. Even though it’s a regulated rate approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission, that doesn’t mean it’s the lowest. With competitive providers like ATCOenergy, you can have more control over your monthly billing.