Expect your electric bill to get a bit higher than power companies in Kansas get another favorable decision from the state government. State lawmakers have funded a study by London Economics to look into why electricity costs have been rising. The study concluded it was because power companies have been passing their liabilities from underused investments to consumers, but state regulators can’t prevent them from doing so. Even if the government can’t do anything yet, you can take measures to keep your electricity bill manageable.
Insulate Your Home
Most of the energy consumed inside American homes is used for heating and cooling. One way to bring your electrical consumption down is to reduce the amount of power you use regulating your house’s temperature — and the best way to do that is with insulation.
Proper insulation will make temperatures inside your house easier to maintain. It can cut your energy consumption by up to 30 percent. Start with your roof and attic since most of a house’s heat loss occurs through the roof, according to insulatekansascity.com. Also, make sure your windows and doors are sealed and check for any damaged vents.
Choose Your Appliances
If your appliances are over five to ten years old, it might be a good time to replace them. Newer appliances are built to stricter standards, so they use less energy than their predecessors.
Make sure your refrigerator, AC units, and washer use inverter technology. If you keep your lights on for most of the day or have a lot of lights in your house, switch to LED bulbs. It’ll cost you a bit of money, but switching to energy-efficient appliances can reduce your power usage by another 30 percent. Of course, you still need to be mindful of your energy consumption by turning things off when you’re not using them.
Generate Your Own Power
One of the best ways to guard yourself against rising electrical costs is by reducing your dependency on the grid. Solar panels can do that for you by using the sun as your source of electricity rather than the grid.
Kansas gets more than six hours of peak sun exposure — enough to power any residential home. The state’s net-metering law credits residential production on a 1-for-1 basis, meaning your excess production during the day compensates for your nighttime consumption. A 6-8 kW system should be able to handle most, if not all, of your house’s energy needs.
With the dropping prices of solar panels and federal tax incentives, you should be only paying around $11,000 to 14,000 for your solar panels. These panels can last for 35-45 years (usually guaranteed for 25), and they pay for themselves in 10-12 years through savings you get on your electric bill. With your electricity consumption at zero or close to it — any rate hike will barely affect you.
The government should keep power companies in check. But as it continues to explore solutions for the rising electricity costs, take steps to reduce your electrical consumption or generate power at home.