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  How To Save On Electric Bills  

We've listed the best ways to save on electricity below.  Your estimated five-year savings are based on an average electricity cost of $0.10 per kilowatt-hour.  If you want to look up the 2006 energy costs for any state, just click on this select-box (the fist number listed is the cost of electricity, the second number is the cost of natural gas per thousand cubic feet):

Best Electricity Savers
1. Use fluorescent light bulbs. Save $43 per bulb.  Use fluorescent bulbs for frequently used lights. Fluorescent bulbs have come way down in price and they now give off a softer light, so there's little reason to buy any other kind of bulb.
2. Turn your PC off for 4, 8 or 16 hours/day. Save $109, $218 or $436.  You can set your computer to go into energy-saving "standby" mode when you're not using it (see this easy tutorial).  These savings are for a desktop computer:  if you're on a laptop you're already saving about 80% on computer costs.  If you have a lot of peripherals or audio/video equipment, put as many as you can on one power strip and turn them all off there.  You'll save hundreds more because most electronics enter "vampire mode" when turned off, still sucking juice.
3. Use a small oven 2, 4 or 6 times per week. Save $150, $300 or $450.  Using a microwave or convection oven instead of a large kitchen oven will save you money.
4. Use an "alternative" energy provider. Save $1,000 to $4,000.  Many consumers in 18 states (including Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and most Northeastern states) can switch their electricity provider to an alternative service, easily saving around 20% on all electricity costs.
The money you can save by using an alternative provider depends on the size of your home and whether it's heated with gas or electricity.  Switching isn't difficult, it just takes a little time to inquire and get cost quotes.  Start at the Public Utility Commission in your state (click here to find your state's Commission.)  Ask each alternative provider about any additional fees, and remember that taxes may or may not be included in their quote.

(Next Gem: Hot Water: Your Biggest Home Energy Bite)

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