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Saving on Your Electric Bill

The electric bill for your condo unit comes due every month, regardless of whether you or a guest are ever in the unit.

It has been observed that a normal size frost-free refrigerator-freezer, without ever being opened, will use about 220 kilowatt-hours (kwh) in one month. At the current LPEA rate for electric power (10.4¢ per kwh), the cost is $22.88. If the unit is occupied for a number of days and the fridge is opened and closed normally, the power consumption could easily double.

This does not take into account the power used for lights, the dishwasher, the washer/dryer, or for heat during the October-April months. Additionally, the LPEA bill always includes a "base charge" and various taxes.

So how can any savings or efficiencies be accomplished on your electric power bill? There are a number of practical procedures that can help:

  1. If the unit will not be occupied for two or more weeks, turn off the fridge and leave the doors open.
  2. Except during the summer, make sure all the windows are closed and locked, and thermostats set at 50° when the unit is not occupied. (Rental units must rely upon renters and housekeeping for this.)
  3. Fireplace dampers should remain closed except when the fireplace is being used. It is usually safe to close the damper the morning after fireplace use in the evening.
  4. Replace as many incandescent bulbs as possible with compact fluorescent bulbs. The savings are long term but are still advantageous.

For instance, 2BR units have four 75 watt bulbs in the kitchen ceiling and two in the hallway. Assuming the unit is occupied 21 days a month, and the lights are "on" an average of 10 hours each day, the power consumption for the month would be 94.5 kwh, costing $9.83.

If the bulbs are replaced by comparable 15 watt compact fluorescent bulbs, the cost for the month would be $1.97.

Consider this: Even though compact fluorescent bulbs cost more initially, normal incandescent bulbs burn out much more frequently. The long-term savings are appreciable.