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February 27, 2015
SRP Approves Rate Increase to 3.3% through April 2016 - Then Rate Jumps to 3.9%
Unlike APS, SRP is not governed by the Arizona Corporation Commission. As a municipal utility, they are governed by a Board of Directors that make decisions to any proposed rate change. SRP customers last saw a 3.9% rate increase in November 2012, so we can estimate that this trend will continue every 2 to 3 years and range between an increase of 3%-7%. SRP currently estimates that an average bill payer who uses 1,110 kWh of energy per month (13,320 kWh annually) will be paying an extra $4.61 per month (or $55.32 more annually, or an extra $138.30 by the time SRP gets around to increasing their rate again, if we suggest they'll increase again in 2.5 years). Here are the estimated impacts of SRP's proposed rate increase.
This doesn't seem too bad, actually. After all, the price of everything always goes up as the years go on.
But what if you're like many bill payers whose total annual kWh usage ranges around 25,000 kWh? Things start to get a little more interesting when you're paying an additional $103.75 on an annual basis (that's an extra $259.38 by the time SRP gets around to increasing their rates again).
So what can you do?
Lower your demand. Most people visualize themselves turning their thermostats to 83° during the hottest times of the day and sweating it out to avoid high utility costs. But this is completely avoidable if you start by making sure your home is operating at optimal efficiency, especially while that AC unit is running. Below is a list of a few things you can do on your own to help increase the efficiency of your equipment and home:
1.Replace your AC filters once a month (and not with the expensive ones)!
- A common misconception is that it's better to replace our filters with the expensive, tightly pleated filters, but this is far from the truth. Tightly pleated filters are much more restrictive than the cheap, $1 filters, put a significant strain on your AC or heating system, cause a decreased amount of airflow throughout your home and can have a big impact on the life of your unit. Buy the cheapest filters you can buy and just make sure you replace them once per month.
2.Run ceiling fans only in rooms that you're in!
- Many people think that running ceiling fans will lower the temperature of a home, but that is far from the reality. We feel more comfortable with ceiling fans on because the air movement is removing heat from our bodies (thus cooling us down). Remember, to turn that switch off when you leave the room!
3.Shade your windows.
- Make sure that you have adequately shaded windows (or skylights for that matter). Solar heat gain has a big impact on how many BTUs of energy find their way into your house. Plant some trees, install awnings, shade screens, or skyshades for skylights and you'll be well on your way to achieving the results you need.
4.Keep your bedroom doors open at all times!
- Leaving the doors to your bedrooms open will help circulate the air much more efficiently throughout your house when your AC or heat is running. Unless of course, you already have a perfectly balanced home!
5.Energy efficient lighting.
- We still, to this day, go into homes where people don't know what a CFL or LED is. Yes, they make ones that work in every type of fixture (even dimmable or three way fixtures!) so make sure to replace all incandescent and halogen bulbs with more efficient bulbs. Doing so will typically knock around $100 to $200 off of your yearly energy bill if you haven't done this already.
When it's time to hire a professional
While these are all great ways for you to start being more conscious of your energy usage, there comes a time when the only way to solve a comfort or high energy usage issue is to hire a professional. Below are some things to consider when investing in your home to keep it nice and cool, comfortable, with low energy bills!
1.Start with an energy audit.
- This is the single, most informative way to figure out exactly what your issues are so you can come up with a plan of action to achieve results. Too often we test homes where people have jumped the gun, upgraded their windows (thinking that was their issue) and have not seen any difference in their comfort or energy bills. Believe it or not, there are much more cost effective ways to save money and become more comfortable in your home such as sealing leaky ductwork, and making sure you have properly installed and adequate amounts of insulation in your attic. The savings could be anywhere from 10%-25% annually if there's a need, and the comfort benefits are priceless (obviously)!
2.Get an AC Checkup.
- This is the only way to make sure your AC or heating system is operating properly. An improperly charged system with an inadequate amount of airflow due to a dirty and clogged coil are some examples of what has a big impact on an air conditioning system's efficiency. The good news is, this issues are pretty easy to fix most of the time but you need an expert to diagnose them.
3.Swap your old pool pump out for a variable speed pool pump.
We can't stress the importance of this one enough. If you're running your single speed pool pump that has one or more horse power 4 hours a day or more, replacing it with a variable speed pool pump will slash your bill by about $300-$600. Check out Pentair's Pool Savings Calculator to calculate your savings on your own.
The bottom line
Don't let those new rate hikes get to your pocketbook. Take control of your home by targeting ways to save money off of your energy bill by decreasing your demand. If your house works efficiently and as a system, the rate increase should be negligible. It's time to stop unnecessary energy waste and start saving. Besides, your home will be much more comfortable to live in!