Electric companies offer money-saving programs to customers

- Want to save money? Ask to be audited - but not by the IRS. Your energy company will audit your home to make sure the heat doesn't tax your wallet.

Handling the heat means cranking the AC for many, which can send your bill skyrocketing. TECO for example, said it already hit a summer peak for usage the first week of July.

The major power providers in the Bay Area - from Duke, to TECO, to Lakeland Electric - all offer savings programs.

Did you know it can cost up to $2 extra a day to keep a typical house at 78 degrees when the temperature outside is hotter than average? That's just one reason to call your power company and ask for an energy audit.

The power company will send an expert to your home. Some even do it over the phone or online, based on information you provide. The expert will look at everything from your habits, to your schedule, to what your thermostat reads. 

For example, are you leaving fans on when you’re not in the room? What’s the temperature you’re setting your AC? Other factors include the AC duct system and insulation.

Maybe you’ll need an upgrade for your windows or weather stripping, but if you make the changes, you become eligible for rebates.

Companies also offer rebates for shifting your home's peak energy usage times to non-peak hours. You can volunteer to cycle off the electricity to your pool pump or hot water heater in times of excessive use, which will get you a credit on your bill. If you wonder what happens when you need hot water, but the heater’s off, don't worry. The cycles are about 15 minutes long, so the water should stay hot in the tank. You probably won't even miss it.

Furthermore, the companies rarely have to turn the power off, but you’ll still get the credit on your bill whether they do or not.

What’s in it for the electric companies? Smarter usage means they don’t have to build more power plants and, at the end of the day, that saves everyone money - not to mention the environment.

For more information about the programs offered by your electric company, visit one of the links below. 

TECO
http://www.tampaelectric.com/save/

DUKE
https://www.progress-energy.com/florida/home/save-energy-money/energy-efficiency-improvements/home-energy-check/index.page?

LAKELAND ELECTRIC
http://www.lakelandelectric.com/customers/programs-services/energy-audit

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