It's getting tougher to make ends meet these days, and ABC7 On Your Side is a campaign to help you save money. Watch Eyewitness News for money-saving tips and freebies to help stretch your dollar.
With just a few words and a little time, you could save a lot of money. Mike Overholser recently went through an audit. No, not a dreaded tax audit, but an energy audit with Southern California Edison.
This kind of audit will make him money, not take it away.
"There are things that every customer can do, from things that are just basic practices that we all know -- like turning out the lights, to screwing in compact fluorescent bulbs, which use only one-third of the energy to give you all the same light out as a regular bulb," said Gene Rodrigues from Southern California Edison.
Mike says he can use any savings he can get, as his bills are very high.
"Especially in the summer, when we're using the air conditioners. It's very high -- through the roof," said Mike.
So for free, an auditor like Sheree Sims will find ways to cut down on your energy costs. They will look at something as simple as lowering your thermostat or running your pool equipment at off-peak hours.
But one of the biggest offenders of energy consumption in most homes - including the Overholser's - is actually in the garage. It's the second refrigerator.
"That refrigerator is chugging away in an untreated airspace all year long. That's probably $250 on this customer's energy bill over the course of a year, just to keep a couple of cans of soda cold," said Rodrigues.
All during the survey, the auditor is logging the energy-saving changes into a computer. Later, the homeowner will get a complete printout showing them how much they will save on their utility bill.
"And I guarantee you, he and his family are going to save probably 20-to-30-percent on their energy bill, with just a few of the simple things that were pointed out to them today," said Rodrigues.
If you insist on having a second refrigerator in the garage, then make sure it's an Energy Star refrigerator. Then keep it full, vacuum the coils regularly, and unplug it when not in use.
By the way, DWP has a similar program.
For more information: