Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why is my Electric Bill so High?

Why is my electric bill so high?

A common question.

There are a lot of answers.

  1. Cost of electrical generation (Oil in Hawaii) has gone up and thus electricity has gone way up, over 50% in around a year.
  2. As governments print more money, the costs of real commodities will continue to go up.  Bernanke promised to print money for years to come.
  3. People have more electrical devices in their houses.
  4. More people are living in a single household, because of this, even people with solar hot water may not be generating all the solar hot water they need, and the rest is made with electric.  You know, the kids moved back home of the inlaws moved in, that kind of thing.

What can you do about it?

Change almost all your lightbulbs to CFL.   LEDs are still pretty expensive, they are neat but compared to CFL they are really not worth it from a payback point of view, quite yet.   Most people have already done the light bulb cvhange out.

In your frig is 10 years old or more, buy a new one.   If you have 2 refrigerators or even 3, consider getting rid of the oldest one.

Buy a front loading washing machine.  They cut your electric bill, they cut your water usage (and thus your sewer bill), and they cut the amount of soap needed.   The clothes come out dryer, and so your dryer has to work half as hard.

Take out any 10 year old aircon, and change to new super efficient variable speed mini-split systems such as Fujitsu, Mister Slim, and others.

Beyond these conservation measures, there is not too much that can be done that makes economic sense.

Now let's talk about producing energy.

Solar Hot Water, if you have 3 or more people, it is a no-brainer to get solar hot water.   With 65% tax credits available in 2012, the payback is enormous and quick.

Solar Electric PV.   Typical residential Annual Rate of Return on Investment is 25% to 38%.    There are various ways to finance it, although your best payback is if you can pay for the system yourself.

PV Leases--PV leases are only good in one situation---you don't have the money or the ability to finance the system.    In that case, you have nothing to lose.  


Solar Attic Fans -- These should be on every house, they produce their own power, they remove the heat from your attic, keeping your house way cooler.   There will be many more months where you don't even have the need to run the aircon if you have one.  It will protect you whole roof, shingle, and tar paper which are all adversely affected by high heat.