As the temperatures plunged below freezing, State Senator LeAnna Washington (D-Phila./Montgomery) hosted an Energy Conservation Summit for city residents looking to reduce their power usage and save money on their utility bills.
Agencies such as PECO Energy, Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), the Philadelphia Recycling Department, Philadelphia Street Sanitation Department and the Philadelphia Water Department shared these insights for lowering utility bills during the frigid months of the year:
- Seal windows and doorways with caulking and weather stripping. In addition to preventing heat from escaping, this can eliminate the drafts that cause city residents to turn up the thermostat.
- Unplug phone chargers, coffee pots, and other appliances when they are not in use. Reduce electricity bills by eliminating the power used by plugged-in appliances. By using a power strip, multiple appliances can easily be turned off at once.
- Conduct an energy audit to identify improvements. Audits typically cost less than $200 and can recognize adjustments and repairs that could save hundreds of dollars annually. PGW’s CRP Program currently provides free energy audits to city residents.
- Consider switching to an alternative energy provider. Many consumers aren’t aware they have a choice of utility providers, and a switch to an alternative provider can lower energy bills by 5 to 10 percent. Before changing services, visit www.papowerswitch.com for information on various power companies.
- Use a programmable thermostat. These thermostats allow homeowners to reduce temperatures at night and before leaving the house for several hours.
- Clean filters of electric heaters and replace inefficient heating systems. PGW’s CRP program provides free weatherization to low-income individuals, and homeowners can also receive a rebate up to $1,000 for installing a new heater. The Home Improvement Loan Program through the Urban Affairs Coalition has a six percent interest rate for infrastructure updates, and the program also works with individuals with poor credit histories.
- Keep your plumbing in good repair. Leaking faucets can waste between 10 and 200 gallons of water per day, depending on the size of the leak. Running toilets waste precious water, too and increase your bill. Minor repairs save in the long run.
The Philadelphia Sanitation Department also reminds residents to avoid tickets by shoveling walkways. Within six hours of the end of a snowfall or freezing rain, city residents must clear a path at least 36 inches wide on sidewalks.
City residents can also help the environment and earn personal rewards points for recycling plastic, metal, glass, and cardboard through the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Program. Visit PhillyRecyclingPays.com for more information on how to enroll in the program and redeem points.
Senator LeAnna Washington represents the 4th District, which consists of parts of Montgomery County and the City of Philadelphia. Washington has served in the Senate for six years, since May 2005, when she won a special election. Prior to serving in the Pennsylvania Senate, she served from November 1993 to June 2005 in the PA House of Representatives, representing the 200th legislative district. Washington currently serves as Democratic Chair of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee. She also serves on the Democratic Policy Committee as the Deputy Chair, as well as the Community, Economics, and Recreational Development, Finance, State Government, Urban Affairs and Housing, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committees. Washington is also a member of the Children’s Trust Fund Board.