The choices we make about where and how we live, what we drive, and the appliances we choose to use affect our energy costs. Read on for useful information to help you save money and energy.
Financial Assistance (residential bills)
Please see the Financial or Payment Assistance for Utility Customers page for more information about the resources that are available for financial assistance for residential consumers. (If you have received a disconnection notice you should contact your utility to try and negotiate a payment arrangement. If you need assistance after contacting the utility, the Consumer Affairs & Public Information (CAPI) Division may be able to help.)
Save Energy and Fuel
Visit the U.S. Department of Energy's useful page Save Electricity & Fuel to learn more about ways to reduce electricity use, purchase energy efficient appliances and lighting, and reduce "vampire loads."
Increase Your Home or Business Energy Efficiency
Efficiency Vermont can help you use energy efficiently through energy assessments, product rebates, financing, and practical advice to help you meet your budget and energy usage goals.
Hybrids and Electric Vehicles
Considering choosing a hybrid or electric vehicle? You can make comparisons and learn more about electric vehicles at the Fuel Economy Website of the U.S. Department of Energy.
If you have a smart meter, ask your utility about time-of-use rates, critical-peak pricing or other pricing options that might be available to you. You may be able to choose a pricing program that offers discounted electricty at certain times of the day, or provides rewards for using less electricity during times of peak demand. These pricing options aren't for everybody, but they may give you more control over your energy costs if you are willing to shift your power use to off-peak times.
If your electric bill seems abnormally high to you, contact your utility company for additional assistance. If your high monthly bill seems to be based on high usage, you can request a free meter test from the utility company once per year to check and see if it is reading accurately. Once your electric company has checked the meter and determined that it is accurate, and has confirmed there are no problems with the company's lines and facilities up to your home, it has met its responsibility for testing your meter. If your concerns are not resolved to your satisfaction, you can file a complaint with CAPI.
Breaker Test (do it yourself)
If you do not have a smart meter, you can determine a rough estimate of where your usage is going by doing a breaker test. To do a breaker test: turn off all your breakers to your home or apartment (your meter should stop spinning or advancing, but if it doesn't then there could be a problem you may need an electrician to resolve). Next, turn on one breaker and see how fast your meter spins or advances, then turn off that breaker and turn on the next one and see how fast your meter spins or advances. Do this for each breaker in turn. If you have an electric hot water heater and/or a well pump, make sure you run the hot water for a while to get the hot water heater elements working, and/or the cold water to get the well pump going before you check those breakers. The breaker(s) that make(s) your meter spin or advance the fastest will tell you where your usage is going.
You can review your electric usage by asking your electric company for a usage history of your account. Efficiency Vermont (EVT), the state's electric energy efficiency utility, may also be able to help identify the patterns of your electric usage.