Energy Bills Not As Low As Expected after Improvements? Check out 4 Possibilities, Advises Alliance to Save Energy
Washington, DC, April 2009—Perhaps you've replaced a couple of old, inefficient appliances with more energy-efficient models, yet your energy bills are about the same. Or you have insulated, weather-stripped and sealed your home, but your energy bills are not as low as you expected after these energy efficiency improvements. What's the problem?
Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan advises consumers, "Before jumping to unwarranted conclusions and assuming there's no payoff from energy efficiency improvements, ask yourself four questions to explore other possible causes first”:
- Could it be the dreaded "Snackwell effect?" Could you and your family possibly be guilty of what is becoming known as the "Snackwell effect" or "Snackwell syndrome?" Just as dieters gorge on low-calorie/low-fat cookies in the erroneous belief that the calories “don’t count” and they won't gain weight, some people who buy energy-efficient appliances, lighting, or electronics may sabotage their efforts to save energy and money by using them more. No wonder that the Snackwell effect related to both diet and energy use is a growing topic on twitter and blogs.
- Have you added new products that use electricity and increase your overall energy use? What changes have you made? Perhaps you've added a few more electrical products like big screen TVs that don't carry the ENERGY STAR certification label, the symbol of energy efficiency. Or perhaps you are simply plugging in more products than you did before.
- Have your energy service providers increased rates in your area? If so, you could be paying even more had you not increased your home’s energy efficiency.
- Are you staying at home more in this turbulent economy? Instead of being away at work a good portion of the day, are you doing more telecommuting? Or, rather than going out to eat or for entertainment, are you staying closer to home? Maybe using your TV and TiVo more? Being at home for more hours each day can increase your energy bills.
Callahan advises consumers to take a hard look at any changes in their energy usage patterns and behaviors when assessing their energy bills, so they can nip any problems in the bud and reap the benefits of their energy-efficiency improvements. She also recommends the Tips to Lower Your Energy Bills on the Alliance's consumer website.