Connecticut business owners know first-hand the steep electric rates in their state. Recent research from wallethub confirms that Connecticut residents and business owners pay the highest energy costs in the nation. Knowing there are reliable energy providers and that they offer the best possible electric rates are keys to a good relationship between electric companies and businesses.
There are several ways businesses can reduce the impact of high electricity costs this year.
1. Lock in a reliable fixed payment rate
Some electricity suppliers offer a fixed payment rate option. Basically, instead of paying more to cool a building in warmer months and warm it in cooler months, the provider looks at usage over the past year and takes the average usage per month.
The obvious benefit is that there are no longer surprises when the electricity bill comes, but the cost is spread out evenly over the year. Typically, there is one month where the electric company “evens out” the bill by charging more or less, depending on actual usage for the year.
2. Compare business electric rates
Since Connecticut is one of the states where energy markets have been deregulated, its residents and businesses have many options for electricity. The competition among various electric companies can be used to best advantage by shopping for the best electric rates.
Restaurants and businesses can instantly compare energy rates online to choose which of the electric companies best meets their overall needs.
3. Invest in an energy audit
For a minimal cost, a business owner can invest in an energy audit, also known as an energy assessment. This helpful service allows an energy professional to analyze the business and provide a detailed plan about how to reduce energy costs. The professional can even take care of small fixes on-site the same day the assessment is performed.
4. Implement the plan from the energy audit
Ability to implement the plan will depend somewhat on the type of ownership or lease agreement is on the place of business. For owners, saving up for some of the larger, cost-saving items may take some time, but will be worth the investment in the end.
Action steps from the audit may include things such as replacing heating and air-conditioning units, upgrading appliances and changing out other materials (roof, windows) to be energy efficient. As a renter, there is less control over the overall building efficiency, but small changes can add up to savings over time (see below).
5. Install proper sealing and insulation to protect from the elements
Making the effort to seal up windows, doors and attics can make a huge difference in energy costs. Specifically, weatherization measures can include adding caulking and weather-stripping along with locking windows.
Additionally, replacing insulation or adding better insulation in walls, ceilings and attics can help not only with air control but also with air quality, noise and pests. Taking some of these simple steps can reduce air leaks by as much as 10 %.
6. Switch to energy efficient choices inside the business
Many of these items a business owner has control of in the building, whether he or she rents or owns. An easy way to save money on electricity is to replace lighting, appliances and more with energy-saving versions.
This means that looking for the energy star label when upgrading. Other than task lighting and the break room refrigerator, other items to consider upgrading are Wi-Fi thermostat, water heater and window coverings.
LED lighting can create large savings, using as little as one tenth of the power to produce the same lighting effect. LEDs also create much less wasted heat. Even fluorescent tubes can be replaced with LED tubes, saving around 40-50%.
7. Take advantage of energy subsidies and rebates
Dennis Shain, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Energy shares that the state is placing a high priority on improving energy efficiency in Connecticut. “In the past few years, funding for popular and cost-effective efficiency programs for homes and businesses has more than doubled,” Shain says.
Doing a bit of research can help reduce electric charges significantly over time while giving added incentive along the way. Energysage.com is a great first step in getting the information and resources needed to get started.
Whatever the business is currently paying for electric rates, several of these improvements will save money on electricity.