Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the September 3, 2003
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Audit Your Own Energy Bill
You can defend yourself against energy bills that are
supposed to skyrocket this winter, an estimated 19 percent for natural
gas and 45 percent for heating oil, according to Smart Money magazine.
Here’s how a website can help you do an online energy audit.
Go to the PSE&G website (www.pseg.com) for an online energy audit
powered by Massachusetts-based Nexus Energy Software
and click on residential customer service and NJ Energy Smart. Fill
out a form about the number of rooms in your house, describe your
appliances (type and size), and what your bills are.
You get an animated picture of a house showing all your utility
Mouse over each appliance (television, humidifier, whatever) and the
pop-up box tells you the monthly cost. It also tells what you would
save with any of the following: replacing an appliance, switching
light bulb types, buying a new furnace or air conditioning unit, or
Under an old house scenario, using the PSE&G’s website figures for
a furnace more than 15 years old, it would cost about $1,800 to $3,000
to install a new 68,200 to 113,700 BTU gas forced-air furnace. Savings
would be $150 to $250 per year or $3,100-$5,000 over the lifetime.
Under a middle ground scenario with a furnace 15 years old the same
furnace would save $50 to $809 a year for an annual savings of $1,000
Under a scenario where the furnace was less than 10 years old, there
would be no savings to replace the furnace.
To take another example, upgrading an old top door 20-foot fridge
with a similar one, costing from $500 to $800, would save $35 to $60
annually, or $700.
This is the kind of information you need before you head out to Sears
or Mrs. G’s to squint at those big yellow stickers.
New Jersey and the federal government also have helpful websites
and New Jersey sponsors plain paper energy audits that are sent and
returned by snail mail.
But it’s the easy things, such as compact fluorescent bulbs, that
deserve more attention. They use 66 percent less energy and last up
to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs, saving $30 in energy cost
over the life of the bulb. These bulbs can even be used in
fixtures and in quality fixtures for office buildings.
Compact fluorescent bulbs will soon get lots of attention. Starting
this month, through the end of the year, the New Jersey Board of
Utilities is participating in a nationwide discount program —
reduced prices on Energy Star (energy efficient) lighting products.
Buy products marked "Price discounted, courtesy of the New Jersey
Clean Energy Program etc. etc.") at such retailers as Home Depot,
Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and at supermarkets. Because the retailers
have already receive their discount, you don’t need any coupons.
— Barbara Fox
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