Americans Want Lower Energy Bills: Start With These 2 Steps

Estimated read time 4 min read

Every day, I turn on my lights without a thought of what it costs me. Apparently I’m not the only one. 

A recent survey of 1,000 Americans by FranklinWH, a battery storage manufacturer, shows that only 28% of the respondents know what they pay per kilowatt-hour of electricity, and only 37% know the last time their utility raised rates.

In a world where electricity prices rise faster than overall inflation — which 73% of those surveyed were unaware of — we need to start taking matters into our own hands. The first step to saving money on electricity is actually reading your energy bills. The second step is to take action to reduce consumption and find ways to lower your energy costs. 

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We’ll help you find the best electricity rates in your area

“The operating costs of a home are often hidden costs that are a big portion of a mortgage payment. We don’t really think about it — just one of those things that we get and have to pay for,” said Vincent Ambrose, the chief commercial officer at FranklinWH. “In reality, as consumers, we have much more control than we think, especially in cases like Texas and other deregulated markets.” 

How to take control of your energy costs

Energy is expensive, especially in states like Hawaii and Connecticut, where electricity rates are some of the highest in the nation. In order to take control, start with these two steps:

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We’ll help you find the best electricity rates in your area

Check if you live in an energy choice market

If you live in a state with energy deregulation — also known as energy choice — electricity companies compete with one another, which can surface better rates and plans. In these areas, you can choose a new provider and energy plan that works best for your usage and possibly save money.  

“Understand your rate plan offered by the utility or energy supplier and do your due diligence to find out if there’s a better plan,” said Ambrose. “I recommend that you compare energy plans at least once a year to reevaluate your contract and rates. Maybe pick a milestone, like every Halloween you reevaluate your electricity plan — you know, because it’s so scary.” 

There are many online marketplaces to compare energy plans, such as SaveOnEnergy, ChooseEnergy (like CNET, both are owned by Red Ventures) or your state public utility commission’s website. Be sure to compare those plan offers not just to one another, but also to your current plan and your utility company’s standard offer (if there is one), which might be cheaper.

Pay attention to your energy consumption patterns and rate

If you experience sticker shock when reading your electricity bill, that could mean a recent rate hike. This is when you want to question your utility or provider. 

“Homeowners and consumers are getting blindsided by massive bill increases. It is especially important in markets like California and the Northeast that experience huge increases like 20% yearly, which is ridiculous compared to the cost of inflation,” Ambrose said. 

To protect yourself from utility rate hikes, it may be time to choose a fixed-rate electricity plan versus a variable-rate plan that fluctuates with market conditions. “Consumers must protect themselves at some level,” Ambrose said. 

No matter where you live, though, Ambrose says we can all work toward controlling how much energy we consume. Consider how you use your energy, where you can cut back, and how to optimize your usage patterns. 

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Unplugging energy-draining devices or using a smart power strip could save you money on your energy costs. 

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Energy-saving tips

There are many ways to reduce your energy usage, such as going solar, adding a home battery, or installing a heat pump. Here’s a list of energy-saving tips, and links to CNET resources:

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