You’ll never guess why electricity rates will jump this summer. Hint: the Polar Vortex.
Last winter’s brutal polar vortex brought such cold temperatures that many New Yorkers saw their heating bills nearly double. Months later, the lingering after-effects of the polar vortex continue to keep electricity prices high.
Weather forecasters predict that New York State will experience sweltering temperatures in July and August 2014. As it gets hotter, air conditioners and refrigerators will have to work harder to keep things cool.
What does this mean for New York residents? Electricity prices are about to spike once again.
“New Yorkers, still reeling from home heating costs this winter, can expect to continue to get hammered by high bills this summer,” said Beth Finkel, New York State Director for AARP, a nonprofit social advocacy organization.
Why would the polar vortex impact summer energy rates? A recent study from the AARP explored the long-term impacts of extreme winter weather. It found that electricity generators had to tap into natural gas reserves during the polar vortex. The nation’s once abundant natural gas surplus was depleted. Now that reserves are low, natural gas prices are rising and the market has become increasingly volatile, which will lead to a summer rate spike.
The Energy Research Council issued a study mirroring the findings of the AARP report.
The AARP’s Finkel warns that throwing “looming rate hikes into the equation and household budgets for many simply don’t stand a chance against unprecedented utility bills. Something’s got to be done.”
In New York, the utility’s standard electricity supply rates are based on market conditions—and those prices fluctuate every 15 minutes.
AARP says that New Yorkers pay the highest electric rates in the United States. Since utility companies and the Public Service Commission handle how much to charge for electricity, New Yorkers have little control.
But where there are concerns, there are solutions. Rather than deal with the fluctuating prices offered by the utility companies, New Yorkers can opt for a fixed-rate plan from an electricity supplier such as Liberty Power. These fixed-rate plans can provide New York residents peace of mind. Making the switch allows households and businesses to worry less about unpredictable costs.
Liberty Power offers people fixed-rate electricity plans for up to 60 months. Customers are locked into a rate and avoid sudden spikes from extreme weather. That allows a household to budget more easily because the per kWh rate paid remains the same month-to-month, despite a polar vortex or summer heat wave.
For further information on available fixed-rate plans contact 1-866-POWER-99 to speak to a Liberty Power representative or click here for a price quote.
Lowering your business’ energy bill is probably more similar than you realize to the steps you take to do the same at home. This week, we’ll remind you of a few basics you can do in your office to keep your energy bill under control.
• Tune up your equipment
Schedule regular maintenance on your office equipment before the peak use seasons (winter for heating and summer for air conditioning) to make sure nothing is damaged or under-performing.
• Change/clean your air filters
Sometimes having too many particles in your air filter can really hurt its efficiency. Make sure to clean your air filters! You’ll benefit from a better performing AC as well as from a higher quality of air. Concerned about filter replacement costs? Look into purchasing an AC that comes with budget-friendly reusable, cleanable filters.
• Take care of your building
Occasionally, pesky leaks or faulty insulation play the culprit in your energy bill spike. Make sure to keep up with your building’s basic needs to ensure you are not blowing money out the windows. This can be a balancing act – you want to keep your controlled air in while still letting in some fresh air from the outside. Click here to check out the EPA’s guides on indoor air quality.
• Master your elements
You can reduce the amount of heat that comes into your building by simple treating your windows to reduce the amount of sun you allow in. Use solar screens (get them at your local hardware store) to block heat and glare. You can also use drapes or curtains, but these still let heat in through the glass. Focus specially on the windows facing east and west. West-facing rooms tend to get a lot warmer in the afternoon so unless you want to crank up your AC, try to schedule meetings in those room in the mornings.
Next week we’ll go over lighting options that can help you save on your business’ electricity bill.
Do you have any office energy savings tips? Let us know in the comments below, or here.
10 tips on how to save energy without breaking the bank or changing your entire lifestyle
People talk about saving energy all the time, but not many people actually engage in the activities essential to doing so. Either it’s too time consuming or requires going out of their way to get it done. Whatever excuses you can come up with stop here. The following are 10 of the easiest ways to save energy and even save money in the process without having to seriously alter that crazy lifestyle of yours.
- Turn Off the Lights and Other Electronics When Not in Use
You’re not in the room so there’s no need to keep them on. The ghosts probably prefer the lights off anyway and don’t really care who the father is on the latest installment of Maury.
- Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
It’s not enough to just turn them off; appliances that don’t need to be plugged in 24/7 and should be unplugged when not in use. Those greedy little vampires will consume unnecessary energy as soon as you turn your back to them.
- Clean Up After Your Appliances
Show your air filters some love by cleaning or changing them regularly. The same goes for cleaning refrigerator coils, dryer lint filters, and even lighting fixtures in your home.
- Keep Your Freezer as Full as Possible
Misery may love company, but not as much as your food. Place containers filled with water in your refrigerator to take up space and keep everything colder without using as much energy.
- Allow Your Dishes to Enjoy Some Fresh Air
Don’t keep them cooped up in the dishwasher, give them some fresh air and let them air dry. It’s okay to wash them in there, but drying can be done in a regular dish rack.
- Allow Your Clothes to Enjoy Some Fresh Air Too
Air drying clothes is a great way to save energy. Let them be independent for once; they’re grown, they don’t need to be plastered to your side or stuck in a drawer every moment of the day.
- Allow Yourself to Enjoy Some Fresh Air
Your air conditioner won’t hate you for turning it off when the weather is nice and cool outside. It may even enjoy the break. Open up the windows, get some fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature!
- Keep the Sun Out
Don’t let the sun bully your house into getting hot. Close your blinds, shades and drapes during the day to keep your house cooler; therefore, using less energy from your air conditioner.
- Dress According to the Weather
This may seem like a novel idea, but when it’s cold, wear more clothes indoors to stay warm. When it’s warmer, wear less clothes, just make sure to close those blinds so your creepy neighbors can’t get a glimpse.
- Save Water = Save Energy = Save Money = Save Time
It’s a win-win-win…win. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth and shaving. Take showers instead of baths. Just don’t nix these activities all together and voila, you’re still clean, but you’ve saved so much in the process.
The point is, you don’t have to undergo an entire life changing process to save energy, nor do you have to be charged an arm and a leg. It’s a simple, conscious decision that we all make to be the difference we want to see in the world, which Gandhi put so eloquently. It’s the little things that count the most!