Annual Utility Savings Hunt – Electricity

It’s that time again. Time to go hunt for utility deals. I know most people think there are no deals to be had, but a lot of your utilities can be negotiated, depending on where you live.

In Connecticut, we have the choice of electricity suppliers. That doesn’t mean that I get two bills or that I have to change electric companies. The only thing that changes on my bill is the name of my electricity supplier and the amount I pay each month.

I received a call last week from one of the electricity suppliers. Usually they go into a big sales pitch explaining what supplier choice is and how things won’t change. I, generally and as politely as possible, interrupt them and just ask for their rate. My former rate was 10.7 cents per kwh. The rate for my electric company is over 12 cents. This company offered me a rate of less than 9 cents with no contract. They also offered me $100 if I stay with them for 2 months and 5% back at the end of 12 months if I stay with them. Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. I switched. There is no fee to switch and no fees if there is no contract.

The only thing that annoyed me about the process was having to talk to a third-party, independent verification service to make sure I understood what I was doing. I wonder how much that adds to the cost of electricity, especially with people changing suppliers every time someone calls with a better offer.

I figured out that on last month’s bill, I would have saved about $50. I wish I would have reviewed my options sooner. If you live in Connecticut, you can visit this site to see all the companies that provide electricity to Connecticut consumers. I got this link from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. If you live outside Connecticut, contact your Department of Public Utilities or your electric company to see if you can pick your supplier.

The electric bill is killing my food savings

Our electric bill has always been the bane of my existence. I run my business out of the house so our bill is higher than most. I have done everything I can think of to lower it. We have Smart Surges on all the computers and set the computers to hibernate after 20 minutes. We make sure all the lights are turned off when not in a room. I monitor the temperature of the fridge.

Last month I did two things that had a dramatic effect on our bill. First, I checked with our state’s department of public utilities to see how much 3rd party suppliers were charging for electricity. All the rates are listed on the site. Not only was the company I picked 2.5 cents less per kilowatt hour but the company provides 20% renewable energy, where CL&P only provides 12%. Plus, I didn’t have to sign a contract. This saved me over $13.oo last month.

I also did something else last month that saved me more than that. I unplugged the deep freezer. I’ve been trying to use up  food we have in the house and I finally got to the point where I could empty the freezer. This saved me $27.00 last month. I have a newer freezer, it’s only 3 or 4 years old, but it still uses a lot of juice.

So I started to think about how much I’m actually saving on my groceries by having the freezer. I generally buy meat on sale and freeze it but I don’t buy huge quantities. I try to keep a month’s worth of cooked ground beef on hand, plus a few roasts, some chicken breasts and pork chops. All of those things will fit in the upstairs side-by-side freezer. I would need to save $324 a year on frozen food just to break even. We don’t eat frozen dinners, so the only thing we keep in the freezer are frozen veggies and meat. I’m not saving enough to keep the freezer plugged in. Maybe if we had a larger family, but it’s just Jeff and I.

The deep freezer is going to stay unplugged for now. It might end up on craig’s list. For now, I’ll monitor the weekly sales at Stew Leonards and buy whatever meat is on sale that week. I’ll plan my meals accordingly. I’ve been doing this for the past month and I’ve been very pleased with the results. We are wasting less food since we don’t lose anything in the back of the freezer and I’m saving $27 a month. That’s a really nice dinner out (with a coupon of course!).

Is your deep freezer costing you more than you’re saving?