On Your Side: Real ways to save more money

Officials are already warning about the cost of keeping cool this summer.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 4:36 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Officials are already warning about the cost of keeping cool this summer. The Georgia Public Service Commission says you should prepare before the heat wave hits.

From the cost of eggs to used cars, everything went up during the pandemic. Now we are seeing higher power bills. Those aren’t expected to stop increasing over the next three years.

We sat down with the vice chair of the commission to find out real ways to save.

“It’s not really a pretty time for rates in Georgia,” said Tim Echols.

He isn’t leaving his power bill up to luck. The vice chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission knows as the heat rises, so will his power bill along with five more rate increases.

“It’s important for consumers to be able to figure out these little ways that they can save and get the bill back down to something they can afford,” he said.

#1 Pay As You Go

“One of the easiest ways is switching to a pre-pay or pay a pay-by-the-day rate,” he said.

Think of it like a pre-paid cell phone. Pay ahead and receive real-time texts alerting you of your balance.

“These customers, most of them low-income customers, are saving 11%. And so that kind of mitigates the rate increase. If you can then save 11%,” said Echols.

#2 Upgrade Your Home

“You’re wasting money with, you know, with this precious power that you’re spending so much to pay for it if you’re letting it all escape,” he said.

Insulation can drastically cut down on your power bill, and you can get a rebate from the power company for the installation.

“This Inflation Reduction Act, that was passed last year, has replenished the tax credit for solar panels, so back up to 26% and sometimes more based on certain circumstances,” said Echols.

The Inflation Reduction Act provides assistance for solar panels as well as replacing AC units with energy star units.

“It’s up to an $8,000 tax credit, so this is really significant. This was not available before the inflation reduction act. So if you’re an AC unit is on its last leg, or you feel like, wait, I think that thing’s running all the time, if it’s running too much, you’re wasting your money,” he said.

#3 Go Electric

“You know, a lot of people getting solar. About half the customers are adding batteries in their garages. So maybe some Tesla batteries along the wall. You also get a tax credit for that if you do it at the same time as the solar,” he said.

Utility companies will soon be able to tap into the power inside your electric car’s battery and pay you for it too.

“The idea of utility being able to tap into grid assets when they really need it, like on a hot day in August, in the afternoon, tap into your car for 15 minutes or be able to turn your air conditioner off for 15 minutes and give you a financial credit for doing that,” said Echols.