Do you ever get your energy bill and after seeing the cost wonder what you’re doing wrong? How could it be this much, and what can you do to reduce it? Sure, you can turn the lights and TVs off more often, but what can you REALLY do to make a difference? We sat down with Florencia Contesse, a Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) energy expert, to get tips on how to reduce our energy bill and the cool new products that are paving the way in energy usage management.
Q: What is the number 1 driver of high energy?
Answer: In Florida, especially in the summer, it is the weather. During the summer months, the A/C is being used longer to keep everything cooler. Even the few months we put the heat on can hike up your energy bill more than anything else. While there are other big drivers like pool pumps and water heaters, here in Florida, the weather is our biggest driver.
Q: What are some of FPL’s energy saving tips to help customers keep their bills low?
Answer: There are lots of things you can do! Check out what FPL recommends:
1. You can save 5% on monthly cooling costs for each degree you turn your air conditioner up.
2. In the summer, set your air conditioner to 78 degrees when you are home and raise it to 82 degrees or warmer when you’re away, with your thermostat set to “auto.”
3. Get smart about energy savings by installing a smart thermostat like ecobee4 and save on average $50 a year on cooling costs.
4. Turn the ceiling fan off when leaving a room. Fans cool people, not rooms. Stopping just one ceiling fan from running constantly can save on average $85 a year.
5. Do you leave a light on at night for security? By replacing a 60-watt standard bulb with an LED bulb that’s used for about 12 hours can save about $22 a year.
6. Did you know your shower can be driving up your energy bill? Replace old showerheads with water-efficient models to cut your hot water usage and save $80 a year in a home with two occupants. Now that’s a safe investment.
7. Here’s an easy, no cost tip. Reduce your water heater temperature by 20 degrees – lower the temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees and save about $10 a year. You won’t even feel the difference!
8. Don’t wash your money away. Use cold water instead of hot water when using your washing machine, and save $30 a year.
9. Did you know that a pool is the second largest user of energy in your home after your A/C? If you have a pool, consider installing a variable-speed pool pump to save about $300 a year.
10. You can lower your electric bill and help us meet the energy needs of all customers when you volunteer to enroll in our On Call program. Receive a monthly credit on your bill and save up to $137 a year. Visit FPL.com/OnCall for more information.
Q: How does smart technology help customers take control of their energy usage and bills?
Answer: Smart thermostats like the ecobee4 can help you set and forget it! You can set your ecobee4 up and it will handle the rest. You can monitor everything right from your smart phone. Another great option is Alexa.
What is Alexa?
Alexa, Amazon’s virtual personal assistant, has been around for about two years, and it keeps getting smarter. It lives inside the Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, among other devices, such as the new ecobee4 smart thermostat, and can listen to your voice commands and respond with contextual responses to help you get the job done. Alexa can help create to-do lists, shop, and even control your smart home products, like Google’s Nest thermostat, ecobee4 smart thermosat or the Philips Hue Lights.
What is an Alexa Skill?
Alexa Skills extend the virtual assistant’s appeal. The Skills are offered from both Amazon and third-party developers, and act as virtual apps to expand Alexa’s features. Skills span many industries, including sports, entertainment, news and social media.
What is the FPL Alexa Skill?
FPL developed an Amazon Alexa Skill with energy saving tips. Try it out by speaking to Alexa, “Ask FPL for energy savings tips.”
How can I get the FPL Alexa Skill?
FPL customers can download the skill from the Amazon Alexa Skill Store. Go to Amazon and search for FPL Skill and then click on the “Enable” button.
Still having issues activating the skill? Visit Amazon for help. Here’s a link to their Alexa Skill support page: http://amzn.to/2kKILqj