Trimming the fat off your power bill

Power, namely the power bill. Have you caught a news cast in the last few weeks? EPCOR representatives are talking non-stop about why they are raising rates by approximately 66 per cent.

Power, namely the power bill. Have you caught a news cast in the last few weeks? EPCOR representatives are talking non-stop about why they are raising rates by approximately 66 per cent.

I say approximately because they cannot seem to agree on the actual amount your bill will be increasing by.

But it will be going up and up. I wish I could double my wage overnight just because I felt like it. But since we can’t, where can we cut back?

So going directly to the source, EPCOR, for some hints on what to change to save and hopefully keep your bill were you can afford to pay it.

In the kitchen, self-cleaning ovens save energy because they are better insulated than conventional ones.

When cooking on the stove, bring the food to a boil on high heat then lower and simmer till done. Maintaining a fast boil doesn’t cook food faster and it wastes energy.

Be sure the seal on your oven is tight.

Even a small gap allows heat to escape, making the appliance work harder to maintain the temperature you want.

Make sure the bottoms of your pots are flat and the lids fit tightly. Turn off the oven for the last few minutes, the temperature will not drop immediately and the food will not be affected.

For your dishwasher, run the shortest cycle and do not use the heat cycle. Clean the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher and, of course, only run through full loads.

Locate your fridge/ freezer away from a direct heat source, such as the stove or even direct sunlight. To check the seal, try to slide a $5 through the closed door.

If you can move the bill, the seal is likely not tight enough.

Do not place a fridge or freezer in an unheated area. The temperature fluctuations make the unit work harder to maintain the correct temperature.

In the laundry room, have your washer located as close to the hot water tank as possible to reduce heat loss in the connecting pipes. Choose a wash time based on the size and the soil level of the load. Eight to 10 minutes is enough for most

laundry. Use a cold water rinse. Clean the lint screen before every load and once a year wash it with an old tooth brush and detergent. This gets rid of film left behind by fabric softener and dryer sheets. Run consecutive loads to take advantage of the preheated dryer.

Outdoors, try using a motion detector for lighting rather than dusk-till-dawn lights.

Turn off unused lights, TVs, computers, printers and speakers. Leaving them on standby uses power.

For more tips, detailed energy calculators, an energy audit and an essential elements house check out the EPCOR site. They have lots of information there including instructions on how to read your meter.

Sandra Nolan is a freelance writer from Rocky Mountain House. Her column appears every other week in LIFE. Contact her at

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