Tips on how to reduce your energy use and save on your next electric bill

John Gregory Image
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
How to reduce your energy use, save on your next electric bill
When the temperatures go up, so does your electric bill and that cost can run some families thousands of dollars a month.

When the temperatures go up, so does your electric bill and that cost can run some families thousands of dollars a month.

We spoke with an energy expert about some low-cost, and even free, ways to lower your bills by several dollars a day without breaking a sweat.

Cisco DeVries is the CEO of OhmConnect, which helps customers save on their energy usage.

"We see people's bills double or more during the summer. So the overall energy grid is really stressed. Those costs get passed through to customers, and customers are using more. So it's a double whammy," he said.

DeVries says his top piece of advice is to manage your electricity use between 4-9 p.m. - when your energy costs the most.

"Take your air conditioner, crank it up around 2 or 3 p.m. Get your house really nice and cool by 4 p.m., and then change the setting. Let it drift," he said. "You can dramatically - we're talking $3-5 a day - reduce that energy cost."

You can also use a window unit to cool off just one room, rather than the whole house.

Another key tip: put off running the dishwasher or doing laundry until after 9 p.m.

"You have permission to be lazy. Put those chores off... that'll add up to $30-50 over the coast of a month."

So-called "vampire devices" can also be a big drain on your energy. That's when devices are using energy even though you're not using it.

"We find that between 5-10% of the electricity use in all of our customer's homes is actually wasted by vampire load," DeVries added. "But the bigger things make a bigger difference."

Things like televisions, gaming consoles, cable boxes or other large pieces of equipment fall under that category.

"Things that get warm to the touch - those are the ones you want to worry about the most."

DeVries also says using smart devices can reduce your energy cost by 15% or more. A smart thermostat for under $100 lets you schedule when and at what temperature the AC is running.

Meantime, smart plugs or power strips can help with turning off your other devices when you're not home.

"Make sure the electricity you're using is worth it to you, that it's doing something that you need. Don't just think 'Oh, it's a little thing here, it's a little thing here.' Those add up."

Southern California Edison has a few more tips to reduce your energy use:

- Cooking on the grill or in the microwave

- Using LED lights

- Closing the blinds in the afternoon or using window film

If you're still struggling to pay your bill, you can always see if you qualify for any low-income energy management and bill assistance programs.

Join us every weekday morning on Eyewitness News at 5 a.m. for our new segment, ABC7 On Your Side. John Gregory has you covered on money-saving tips, including tricks to save on your bills, smart negotiating tactics, plus where you can score free stuff!