Smart Ways to Slash your Utility Bills - NBC Chicago

Smart Ways to Slash your Utility Bills



    Smart Ways to Slash your Utility Bills

    Tips offered by the Citizens Utility Board are helping many Chicagoans keep their budgets in check. (Published Thursday, June 10, 2010)

    Summer in the city can make energy bills soar, but many Chicagoans say tips offered by the Citizens Utility Board are helping them with their bottom lines.

    "We will save about $500.00 this year," says Barbara Wolke.

    Just as recommended, Wolke says she uses power strips with on and off switches for just about all her appliances and TVs.

    "According to the CUB, this is a big drain on your electricity. If not unplugged its taking juice all day long," she explained.

    She has also signed up for ComEd's Residential Real Time Pricing program. Instead of paying a fixed rate per kilowatt-hour, she opts to pay the market rate. And by consuming her energy off-peak she can save big.

    ComEd's program on average can save homeowners 15 percent on their bill.

    Now she puts her washing machine and dishwasher on the delay cycle setting it to run in the middle of the night when electricity is much cheaper.

    It can subject her to blackouts on her air-conditioner during peak consumption periods, but she said it's the rare occasion when ComEd shuts her off for two hours in the middle of the day. Most people aren't at home during the day, she said.

    Through CUB, Wolke says she’s learned so many other tricks as well.

    "These savings are out there," Wolke says. "We just need to get them, like clipping a coupon."

    Wolke also stripped her home phone, keeping only Caller ID. For long distance, she uses a MagicJack that runs off her computer for only $20 a year. 

    "Sometimes we think it’s hard to do these things; an inconvenience. And its not really," she said.

    CUB just announced another new program called the CUB Energy Saver. It actually rewards you for saving energy, saving consumers another $200 per year.

    $mart Money:  Navigating the Road to Financial Freedom