The Tennessee Valley Authority will be raising the rates that consumers pay during the hottest days of summer this year. The reason for the change is that during peak demand times, the TVA can’t generate enough power to keep up and has to purchase power on the open market, which costs them more money per Kilowatt hour.
Now, before you totally freak out, let me add that the TVA will also be lowering rates during reduced demand times beginning this month. That means that on a lovely, mild spring day like today, you will actually be paying less per Kilowatt hour.
Still, many of us are sure to experience some sticker shock once summer gets into full swing, so it’s a good idea to come up with a plan now to save energy later. I myself will be adding more insulation to the attic and putting up a retractable clothesline in the yard this spring. And when I found it necessary to have my roof shingles replaced recently, I had a ridge vent installed to boost airflow, and chose the lightest color shingle that wasn’t butt ugly to reduce the amount of heat absorbed from the sun.
Here are some other simple steps you can take to help offset this cost increase:
- Install compact fluorescent bulbs, especially on the fixtures
you use most often.
- Put low flow aerators on your faucets- flow rates of 0.5 to 1.0 GPM in the bathroom and 1.5 GPM in the kitchen work best.
- Install water saving shower heads- I prefer the ones that look like a small silver cylinder. They pressurize the water much better than the big plastic ones, which tend to give the feeling that you are being drooled on from above by a dozen tiny golden retrievers. The cylindrical ones also have a button on them which you can use to shut off the water flow while you lather up without having to experience a shock of cold water each time you turn it back on.
- Set the thermostat to 78º in the summer.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120º- often the thermostat is set to 140º at the factory, but for each 10ºF reduction in water temperature, you can save
between 3%–5% in energy costs.
For more ideas like these, visit www.energysavers.gov/tips/
You can also take an online energy audit or schedule an in-home energy evaluation by the TVA at http://www.energyright.com/
And of course, if you have any creative ways you save energy at home, please leave us a comment!