Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Make Your New Year's Resolutions EnergyWise

It’s that time of year again – the time we promise to change some aspect of ourselves or our lifestyle. We declare our New Year’s resolution to become better than we’ve ever been. And it works great … for about a month or two. Then we stray from our resolutions and spend the rest of the year trying to get back to the promises we made to ourselves in January.

This year, why not make a resolution to become more EnergyWise? In fact, with a few simple tips and tricks, being EnergyWise is bound to be easier than losing those extra holiday pounds.

Here are just a few things you can do that will impact your entire year without a lot of effort:

1) Set your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower in the winter, 78 or higher in the summer
2) Install a programmable thermostat
3) Replace your incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs
4) Install light timers, dimmers and motion sensors
5) Cook efficiently throughout the year, not just around the holidays

And, of course, subscribe to this blog! Each week we aim to bring you energy saving tips and other information to save on your energy bills, and more! If you read something that helps you or if you have a question, we encourage you to post comments. We’re happy to help.

Here’s to an EnergyWise new year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Just what is the Smart Grid and what will it do?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the smart grid. At its most basic, the smart grid is a transformation from the current one-way power delivery network to one that is more consumer-interactive. It provides the infrastructure to allow consumers to monitor their energy use more closely and increase their energy efficiency. Think of the world of Thomas Edison combined with the technology of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Here at SCE&G we too are exploring and implementing some smart grid technologies. Do customers want to see their energy use in real time? Would that information cause them to regulate their usage? Or, would most find the high tech (like programming that old VCR) too cumbersome? What would such a smart grid cost and would it benefit enough customers to be cost efficient? What would the infrastructure for this type of system require – both for SCE&G and the access point for our customers?

These are just some of the questions we and other utilities are pondering at the moment. As we continue to roll out related programs, we want to ensure the technology is of value to you.

Tell us what you think.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Help set the PaCE for green power in South Carolina. Right now.

This time of year we start to think about ways we can improve ourselves with our New Year’s resolutions. But, why not think about how you can improve green energy in South Carolina?

As a customer of SCE&G, you can sign up to make tax-deductible contributions to a program called Palmetto Clean Energy. PaCE,a non-profit organization, allows customers of South Carolina's investor-owned utilities (Duke Energy, Progress Energy and SCE&G) to buy tax-deductible blocks of green, renewable energy for as little as $4 per month and have them added to South Carolina’s power supply.

By supporting the development of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass, customers who participate in PaCE make contributions directly to their utility and then each utility passes along all funds to Palmetto Clean Energy, Inc.

Why support PaCE?
It’s cleaner and environmentally sustainable. Sustainability and a cleaner environment are important to South Carolina’s citizens. By contributing to PaCE, you help protect our environment and preserve our natural resources.

Supporting PaCE also helps strengthen the economy through renewable energy development in South Carolina. All contributions are used to pay for locally-produced renewable energy. Supporting local sources of renewable energy is an important part of our state’s energy future.

How do I sign up?
You can choose to make monthly tax-deductible contributions, for as little as $4/month, through your SCE&G bill. To sign up, call SCE&G at 1-800-251-7234.

To make a one-time tax-deductible contribution by mail, please send a check to:

Palmetto Clean Energy
Mail Code PCE
220 Operation Way
Cayce SC 29033-3701

Please do not send cash. Checks should be made payable to Palmetto Clean Energy. All contributions are tax-deductible and non-refundable.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Check out our Energy Analyzer tool!

These days, we’re all interested in controlling our energy costs. To help, SCE&G offers both the Online Home Energy Audit tool to help you monitor your energy consumption and our Energy Analyzer tool.

The Energy Analyzer helps you analyze your personal energy usage and costs on a monthly basis. It allows you to review your average usage, typical energy costs and factors like outside temperature that may affect your bill. You can compare your bills from month to month, year to year or in similar months. This handy tool also provides colorful and detailed charts on how much energy you are using, giving you an idea of how you can save both energy and money.

To use the Energy Analyzer you must be an SCE&G customer and register your account online through our Web site. Once you have a username and password, you’re on your way to exploring your energy usage and costs and determining the best way(s) you could save energy and money.

Visit our Web site today and start analyzing your energy usage!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Is it time to replace your old holiday lights?

Like me, you probably have a stash of holiday lights in a box that you drag out of the back corner of the garage each year. Some of those lights are probably 15 or more years old. But, why buy new ones when these ones work perfectly fine?

Well, those big, old, colored bulbs could be costing you a lot more than you realize. Most of those lights use 5-7 watts per bulb! By replacing them with newer miniature lights they will last much longer and use about 70 percent less energy. Even better, LED lights are up to 90 percent more efficient than their incandescent counterpart and they can last up to 100,000 hours (that’s 20 years!).

Other advantages of LED lights include:

  • They’re cooler than incandescent bulbs, reducing the risk of fire.
  • Since they use less power, you are less likely to overload the wall socket.
  • They’re typically made of plastic rather than glass, and therefore more durable.

LED lights are available in many of the same shapes and varieties as incandescent holiday lights. And, while the new bulbs will cost a little money initially, you should see energy savings immediately.

Speaking of energy savings, don’t forget to use a timer for your outdoor displays.

Oh – and while you’re decorating your house with all those lights, don’t forget to take a picture! SCE&G is a proud sponsor of the Live 5 News “Holiday Lights” My5 Contest. Submit your best holiday lights photo or video on the Live 5 Web site or send them by e-mail or directly from your cell phone. The contest runs through Dec. 31, 2009.

Good luck and happy decorating!

Have an energy efficiency question?

Welcome to the EnergyWise® blog, a place to gain insights into energy efficiency tips and programs offered by South Carolina Electric & Gas. Have a specific question? Ask our Energy Team or comment to one of our posts below.