Ever ask your utility company how you can lower your rate?

ConsumerAffairs

One thing you can do is live off someone else’s solar collection

When’s the last time you took a good look at your utility bill? Like a good, hard look? Many consumers may not realize that in addition to government assistance, there are things that they can do to lower their rates with their utility companies – things beyond spending money on things like energy-efficient appliances or LED light bulbs.

Time of Use Plans

The first thing that a consumer can ask about is a time-of-use plan. Some utility companies offer time-of-use plans where rates will vary based on the time of day. Shifting energy-intensive activities – like washing clothes – to off-peak hours can result in lower costs. 

The typical off-peak hours that you can take advantage of during the week are early in the morning (like 6 am-9 am) and late at night (9pm-6am). The weekend rates tend to shift, though, so you might have to adjust your schedule.

Community Solar Programs

Many utility companies have moved away from fossil fuel to hydro and solar power and, with that move have come some little-known savings programs for consumers.

Community solar programs aren’t everywhere, yet, but where they exist, they allow consumers to benefit from solar energy without having to lift a finger in installing panels on their property. How?

When you subscribe to a project, you’ll earn credits on your utility bill from your portion of the energy that’s generated by the solar project.

How much can you save? It varies, but what ConsumerAffairs found was that most community solar subscribers can save at least 5% and up to 20% annually on electricity costs.

Cut your own deal

Utility companies have been known for playing fair with consumers and you shouldn’t hesitate to negotiate with your utility company. Ask about discounts. Ask about special rates. Ask about loyalty incentives. Ask about promotions. Don’t leave anything on the table. 

Go paperless or auto-pay

Going paperless or getting their customers to use auto-pay is a benefit for the utility company. It may be willing to give you back some of the money it saves if you sign up for one of those things. Again, just ask.

Find a Solar Energy partner near you.