Tuesday 20 October, 2020

With rates going up in January, here's how to reduce your CUC bill now

Check the performance of your air conditioner (including the AC system and air filters) as it can consume about 60 per cent of your electricity bill.

Check the performance of your air conditioner (including the AC system and air filters) as it can consume about 60 per cent of your electricity bill.

On Tuesday the Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) indicated that it would be deferring its annual rate increase as a courtesy to its customers, during the financially stressful COVID-19 period. It was also announced that this rate increase would be reflected as of January 2021.

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CUC’s financial performance as reflected in the recently released financial results for the three months ended June 30, 2020 reveal that shelter in place took a toll on the company. With many companies temporarily and permanently closing, sales for the period contracted by 4 per cent. This is despite the fact that residential electricity usage went up by a significant amount, also due to shelter in place, causing local concern surrounding the increase in residential electricity bills.

With the this concern showing no sign of subsiding, here are some actions that you can take today to reduce your bill.

1. Monitor your power usage day-by-day. Sign up to MyCUC today and be in control of your energy usage by using the CustomerConnect energy management tool.

This is located at: https://cucconnect.cuc.ky/HomeConnect/login.html

2. Check the performance of your air conditioner (including the AC system and air filters) as it can consume about 60 per cent of your electricity bill. According to Caribbean Filtration, if air filters have not been changed over the last few months they can be suffocating your AC and restricting the airflow, not to mention all the dust, allergens and air born bacteria that gets trapped in the air filter. “I believe it is the most cost-effective solution since air filters only cost an average of $5 each and last up to 2-3 months,” says Diana Dilbert of Caribbean Filtration.

“We are spending more time at home and our air filters get clogged, which restricts the airflow and makes your AC system work twice as hard.” 

3. Replace your light bulbs. According to CUC, you can reduce your electricity usage for lighting by 75 per cent just by replacing your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Although energy-efficient bulbs are more expensive off the shelf, their efficient energy use and longer service lives mean that they cost less in the long run. LED bulbs are available at most hardware stores on-island.

4. Turn off electrical appliances (including wifi, printers and computers) when not using them. This is the most intuitive of all approaches. Turn off your air conditioner and appliances when you go to bed or leave the house. Turning things off at the power point can save even more power than at the switch or remote control. If you are able, invest in advanced power strips, which shut off the power to electronics when they are not in use.

5. Close doors and curtains. Shut doors to areas you're not using, and only cool the rooms where you spend the most time. When you keep curtains and blinds closed, sunlight will not enter and your house will remain cooler. Also, stop cool air leaking out by blocking draughts around doors and windows.

6. Use energy-intensive appliances less by performing household tasks manually, such as hang-drying your clothes instead of putting them in the dryer, or washing dishes by hand.

7. Use energy-efficient appliances. When purchasing an energy-efficient appliance, you should look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers consume 25 per cent less energy and 45 per cent less water than conventional ones, whereas ENERGY STAR refrigerators use 9 per cent less energy.

8. Manage water-heating expenses. Water heating is a major contributor to total energy consumption. This can be achieved by simply using less hot water or by turning down the thermostat on your water heater.

9. According to CUC, you can reduce your cooling bill by 2 per cent just by raising your thermostat by one degree in the summer.

10. Go off the grid with a provider such as Greentech Solar. Solar is the most extreme but most impactful measure and can bring your CUC bill down to $0. Banks are typically happy and willing to finance these projects. 

Image Source: Facebook Page of Greentech Solar with evidence of the CUC savings.

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