Tips for saving on your BGE bill

It’s going to be a HOT one again today and I, like many other Peak Reward members, already received a call from BGE to let me know that they do not plan to activate the savings program again today… but it is always a possibility should there be unforseen circumstances. 

Basically, what this means is, if folks get greedy with their energy usage then they will be shutting down our A/C.  As far as I’m concerned, that is fine with me.  It’s what we signed up for and we certainly love the big discount we are getting on our bill.  But, the call got me wondering if all of the energy hoggers (sometimes that’s us too – the family does love my husband’s big screen tv!) are aware of how much money they’re actually spending when running all of their gadgets and gizmos.

I visited BGE’s Smart Energy website to check out their tips for saving money and energy and here’s what they had to say:

Cool Tips for Saving Energy

You can save money on your energy bills by following these simple practices:
  • Keep cool air in and hot air out by sealing openings such as cracks in walls and around windows and doors.
  • If you have a fireplace, close the flue damper when it’s not in use. The use of a wood burning fireplace can actually draw heat out of the home – unless you have glass doors or an insert.
  • If you don’t have storm or thermal windows, cover the inside of your windows tightly with plastic from a discount or hardware store.
  • Caulk or weather strip around doors and windows to seal out cold air. In addition to potential cost savings, a well-sealed home will make the interior space more comfortable.
  • Add draft-sealers around electric switches and outlets.
  • Use oil, gas, kerosene or wood-burning stoves only when properly vented to the outdoors.
  • Remove window air conditioning units to reduce drafts. If this isn’t possible, cover all sides of the unit to minimize leakage.
  • Don’t forget that computers, fax machines, TV’s, VCR’s, CD players, cable boxes, cassette decks also consume energy because of their standby features. Some will continue to consume energy even when turned off if they are plugged in. Consider unplugging when you leave home or go on vacation.
  • Activate the ”sleep” feature on home office equipment.  This automatically minimizes power consumption when not in use.
  • If you have a pool, remember that it, too, consumes energy – consider a pool cover to minimize the operation of the circulation pump.
Here are some other helpful tips for saving energy this summer:
  • Have a professional perform routine maintenance on your heat pump or central air conditioning unit and have any problems repaired right away.
  • Change or replace air filters monthly.
  • If you have central air conditioning, set your thermostat at 78° or higher. For every degree you raise your thermostat setting above 72° F, you can save 5-7% on your cooling costs.
  • Close blinds on the sunny side of the house during the day to block heat. 
  • Consider using fans, which use much less power, as an alternative to an air conditioner.

Myth Buster – I recently read a tip by a friend of a friend on Facebook which suggested setting the auto-run feature on various appliances (washing machine, dishwasher, etc) so that they would run at night when the rates were lower.  I thought this sounded like a great idea so I did a little research.

Unfortunately what I found is that, in order for this to apply, you would need to sign up for BGE’s Time of Use Program which incurs a fee of $17.50 a month with a minimum enrollment of one year.  This is not going to be a beneficial move for most residential customers and is really meant for businesses such as 24-hour convenience stores or gas stations.

So , be diligent about plugging the holes and unplugging the appliances and try adjusting the A/C temp by a degree or two.  You might not even notice and could potentially save a nice chunk of change! 

How do you conserve energy (and dollars)?  Post in the comments below or e-mail to

Jennifer Kline – I have tried a variety of money-saving ideas over the years, some that work and some that just weren’t worth the time and effort.  I hope that you will come back each Friday to learn my tips and tactics for hanging on to your hard-earned dollar.  I also hope that you will share some of your tips with me by sending them to

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4 Responses to Tips for saving on your BGE bill

  1. You should clarify that the first set of tips (under Cool Tips for Saving Energy) are really for wintertime; you do not want to seal your windows with plastic in the summer because of the humidity. All you are doing is creating a perfect environment for mold.

    Also, since this is “The Zone”, consider some more:
    1) Put motion detectors on outside security lighting to minimize the time it is on.
    2) For outside building lights over a driveway or a building entrance, consider a timer to keep it from running all night.
    3) If you use a jet pump, make sure your well and the foot valve is in good working order so the pump is not constantly running. Also, make sure the pressure tank has the right air pressure and the bladder has not ruptured.
    4) It’s true that you can only benefit from the time of use program if you sign up for it, but timing appliance usage to the later hours has another advantage: running them when it is cooler indoors and out, meaning your A/C doesn’t have to work against your dryer or dishwasher.
    5) If you use a dishwasher (at least a mechanical, and not teenage one) don’t use the heated drying: just crack the door after it is done and let the air circulate.

  2. Phil says:

    One simple free way to save is to switch electric suppliers. A good website to compare rates is And I mention it’s free!

  3. Pingback: Frugal Friday – link-up and share | The Zone Magazine

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