The Energy Edge

Tips and tricks to keep your home cool and comfortable this summer.

Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home. In fact, HVAC makes up about 54% of your utility bill alone.

While upgrading an old or inefficient air conditioner and furnace certainly helps, there are many other simple things you can do to reduce your energy use, control costs, and lower your energy emissions.

Summer Energy Efficiency Tips

  • Set your programmable thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer for when you’re home, sleeping, or away on vacation
  • Avoid placing appliances that give off heat, such as lamps or a TV, near a thermostat
  • When selecting new cooling equipment for your home, look for the ENERGY STAR® models to keep energy costs down
  • Use an interior fan along with your air conditioner to help spread cool air through your home quicker
  • Consider retrofitting your roof with a heat-reflective material to cool the temperature of your roof by up to 50°F
  • A well-placed tree can provide enough shade to save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses

Read more general efficiency and safety tips.

Electricity consumers continue to fare better with competition at wholesale retail.

Consumers in competitive states see rate declines as monopoly rates rise

Consumers in states with electricity competition have seen their rates decline over the past decade and a half while ratepayers without competitive retail markets experienced rate increases, a revised analysis of U.S. Energy Information Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.

The analysis looked at electricity price data from 1997 through 2013 two ways. One considered states that benefit by being within the footprint of organized competitive wholesale power markets overseen by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) or independent system operators (ISOs).  The other looked at the 16 states and the District of Columbia that have restructured their electricity markets to promote competition at retail.

The data, adjusted to take inflation into account, show that consumers in states that restructured to promote retail competition saw their rates decline by 3.6%, while ratepayers in states that retained the monopoly regulatory model saw their rates increase by 8.2%. Consumers in states within the footprint of RTOs and ISOs saw their rates decline by 0.9%, while those in states outside of organized competitive wholesale power markets saw their rates increase by 6.7%.

“COMPETE has conducted this exercise annually for several years now, and the data are irrefutable. Consumers in states with competition, whether at wholesale or retail or both, have seen their rates either decline or increase at a slower rate of growth compared with consumers in states without competition,” said COMPETE Counsel William Massey. “These data show that competition works in the best interests of consumers, and we expect this observable trend to continue into the foreseeable future.”



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  • Natural gas generates approximately 25% of the total electricity in the U.S.
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  • The first power plant owned by Thomas Edison opened in New York City in 1882
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