LifeStyles

PREMIER Reports: Going Green

Over the last six months I’ve noticed that my SDG&E bill was slowly creeping up. At first I thought nothing of it. I had heard that a new, tiered program was being implemented by the electric company and I thought this might have been the cause for the increase.

MISSION: SAVING MONEY WHILE ALSO SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT

Over the last six months I’ve noticed that my SDG&E bill was slowly creeping up. At first I thought nothing of it. I had heard that a new, tiered program was being implemented by the electric company and I thought this might have been the cause for the increase. When I received my November bill and saw that it was $453, I was shocked. This might not seem like a lot to some of you, however, I live in a 2,154 square foot home in which I keep the lights on only in the room I’m occupying so this seemed like a ridiculously high bill. I spoke to one of my neighbors who lives in a larger home than mine and has a family of four. He told me that their bill had only been $141 that month. I therefore found it even more puzzling when I received my December SDG&E bill for $488 which, though only $35 more than my November bill, didn’t seem to take into account the fact that I was away from my home 11 days in December. So how did my electricity bill increase instead of decrease?

With the higher bill as motivation I decided to do some research and it became the reason for my article. I spoke to a “High Bill Specialist” at the electric company and after an hour on the phone with her I learned so much that I now want to share the information with all the readers of PREMIER. Over the next few months I will continue to share this valuable information and how it caused me to monitor and alter my behavior in order to lower my monthly bill to a more manageable amount. I will tell you about my mistakes and my new-found insights and I hope you will find the information edifying as well as useful.

LESSON #1
As appliances around your house start to break down or wear out they drain more electricity. This lesson saved me $192 on my February electric bill.

MISTAKE #1
I was accustomed to placing my comforter in my washer but because it was oversized it had thrown off my washer’s spin cycle quite some time ago. A repairman provided me with a quote of $400 to fix it. I figured that despite the irregular spin cycle the washer still had some life left in it so I decided to utilize it until it completely wore down which it did in early February. At that time I replaced both my washer and dryer. But appliance mishaps happen in twos and my microwave also died in early February so for the remainder of the month I lived without a microwave. I now realize that a microwave is like a cell phone; you don’t realize how much you need it until you don’t have it. Admittedly, the previous owners of my home must have misused the microwave as it took a minute and 20 seconds to reheat a cup of coffee which it now takes my new microwave only 20 seconds to do.

CONCLUSION #1
With a new washer and dryer, a non-functioning microwave and no other pattern changes my February bill went down $192. My conversation with the High Bill Specialist took place March 1st so my new changes had not yet been implemented (I’ll share these new changes in the May issue). If I had replaced my washer when it started to break down I would have saved over $1,400 in electric charges. Waiting to replace a malfunctioning washing machine might have delayed the inevitable cost of a replacement but it also cost me over $1,400 in wasted electricity. Though I paid $1,500 for my new washer and dryer, in reality it ultimately cost me $2,900. This is one expensive mistake and one I will never make again.

Coming in the May issue: My High Bill Specialist gave me some great tips on conserving energy and saving money and I will tell you about some of the changes I’ve implemented on March 1st to take advantage of her conserving and savings tips. When I receive my March electric bill I will share with you the impact of my changes in the hopes that it will benefit you, the readers of PREMIER. Of course as I continue to make these changes in stages and I will continue to keep you apprised of the necessity and importance of each of them so stay tuned!

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