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7 Ways to Lower Your Utility Bill

7 Ways to Lower Your Utility Bill

Ethan Ewing for

6) Use the sun. The sun is a great source of natural energy. Taking small steps such as opening the drapes to let the sun’s warmth in during the day, and closing them – or install insulating drapes – to keep heat in at night will make substantial differences in your heating bill. Leave lights off if sunlight provides enough light by which to read, shower, cook or eat.

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7) Choose budget billing. Consider contacting your utility provider to ask about billing a set amount each month. Called “budget billing” by some utilities, the company averages your annual utility bills and bills one-twelfth of the amount each month. Bills usually will be slightly lower in the winter and summer and slightly higher in the spring and fall. Most importantly, the bill will be a predictable amount each month to simplify budget planning. (Those in Service-provided housing might already have this feature on their bill.)

If you find you can’t pay your utility bill, get help. Many states offer programs to help people keep the utilities on when they have trouble paying the bills. Contact your utility company to learn about its plan, and be sure to mention that you are a military family. For instance, Ohio’s Patriot Plan is based on a law that states that utilities can’t be disconnected for nonpayment for any military reservist or National Guardsman deployed on active duty. In an emergency, organizations such as the Salvation Army might be able to help.

These actions share one common feature: The No. 1 action you can take to rein in your utility bills is to pay attention to the energy you use, and try to use only what you need. When you use utilities carefully, you’ll be able to reduce your bills, while still enjoying the comfort of your home, while you’re in the Service and beyond.

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