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5 ways to keep your summer energy bill from skyrocketing

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Smart plugs allow users to use their smartphone or laptop to manage everything from kitchen appliances to chargers virtually. | Photo provided by OhmConnect

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Like most San Joseans, you’re probably seeing much higher energy bills especially with summer in full swing. California’s residential electric rates are already up more than 25% since 2016. And they are about to go up again — as much as another 25% this year. That translates to an increase of $200+ over the summer for the average customer.

To help save you some much-needed cash, here are five ways to chill your energy bill this summer:

Get a smart thermostat

Don’t turn into your dad and watch the thermostat like a hawk — the easiest and best way to stay comfortable while reducing electricity bills is to use a smart thermostat, like Nest, Sensi, Sensibo, ecobee, or Honeywell. These devices automate temperature changes and shave a degree here and there (which adds up over the months).

Shade your windows

Shades can help reduce solar heat through windows by up to 60%. By pulling down your blinds on a sunny day, you reduce the amount of electricity expended trying to cool your home.

Sign up for OhmConnect

OhmConnect is a free service designed to help keep more money in your bank account — and even add additional money to it. It alerts members via text or email when energy is most expensive and when to save energy. The best part: OhmConnect will reward you for saving energy during this time. This alert, which usually happens between 5-9 p.m., is called an OhmHour notification.

So, what should members do when they receive an OhmHour notification? It goes a little something like this:

  1. Reduce your energy use. Turn off your lights, unplug and let your smart thermostat go into eco mode. Better yet, connect your most energy-hogging appliances (like lights and air conditioners) to smart plugs so they can be powered down automatically without you needing to lift a finger.
  2. Get rewarded. OhmConnect measures how much energy you save and sells it back to the grid, passing the profit on to members. When they save energy, they earn Watts (points), which can be redeemed for cash and gift cards from popular brands.
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New members will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card when they sign up for OhmConnect. | Photo provided by OhmConnect

Pre-cool your home

If you have a smart thermostat linked to OhmConnect, it can pre-cool your home automatically. If you don’t have a smart thermostat, you can still do it manually. Simply turn down your thermostat to chill your home before 4 p.m., so you can turn off your thermostat from 4-9 p.m. when energy is most expensive. Pro tip: Open the windows at night to let cooler air in when the sun goes down.

Check your A/C filter

You’re supposed to do this every three months, but it’s easy to forget. A clogged air filter can cost you 15% of your HVAC’s efficiency. Considering that nearly half of your annual energy cost comes from heating and air conditioning, that 15% makes a real difference on your bill.


How much do you expect to pay for electricity each month this summer? Let us know here.*

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