The average cost of electricity for residential customers in the Philippines is one of the highest in the world. And while citizens of neighbouring countries like Thailand and Indonesia enjoy government subsidies to help reduce the prices of energy, Filipinos are left to shoulder the burden alone. This is why it is not surprising that many Filipino households find it challenging to pay their electricity bills each month.
If you are one of the many families who dread looking at their monthly electricity bill, know that you are not entirely powerless. Even without the government’s assistance, there are numerous things you can do to reduce your energy expenditures. Here are five steps that will surely make an impact.
Choose Energy-Efficient Appliances
When buying new appliances, you probably search “appliances on sale” on the internet to discover stores that can offer the best value for your money. Exercise the same due diligence when scrutinizing which among the many marks and models of a particular appliance you should end up buying. Look through your options and narrow down your list to models that will provide you with excellent energy savings.
One of the easiest ways to determine energy-efficient appliances is by checking the yellow label, which indicates the energy efficiency ratio (EER) or energy efficiency factor (EEF) of the unit. When you have several options, make sure to select the one with the higher EER or EEF as it will cost less to operate. Looking at the energy label is particularly important if you are buying appliances that are known to drive your energy use through the roof, like air conditioners and refrigerators.
Learn to Unplug
Make it a habit to unplug appliances and electronics after turning them off. Remember that if you fail to unplug, you fail to save precious energy. Whether you realise it or not, appliances and devices continue to use power as long as they are plugged in. Although they bleed small amounts of power, their electric consumption can add up if you keep appliances plugged-in 24/7.
According to Meralco, a 21-inch television that is on stand-by mode can add as much as PHP 20 to your electric bill every month. What if you have at least four TV sets on standby mode all year long? You will be wasting just a little less than a thousand pesos yearly just for keeping the TVs plugged in alone. Imagine how much money you will be losing if you add the cost of keeping your laptops, chargers, electric fans, and other appliances plugged in when not in use.
Be Smart When Using Lights
Take advantage of the country’s long and bright daytimes by relying on natural light during the day. Open your windows and use light-coloured or sheer curtains to let in as much sunlight into your home as possible. Keep in mind that this strategy will not only lower your energy consumption, but it will also allow you to enjoy the mood-boosting benefits of sunshine.
You should also try switching to lamps that use light-emitting diodes (LED) if you are still using incandescent bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to illuminate your home. While LED lights are more expensive to purchase at the outset, they offer significant savings in the long run.
For one, LEDs allow you to save nearly 90 percent on energy costs versus incandescent bulbs—and almost 50 percent versus CFLs. Secondly, LED lamps are more versatile and last five to ten times much longer than these two other types of lighting solutions, which means every purchase of LED lighting is more of an investment than a mere expense.
Maximize the Use of Your Washing Machine
Your washing machine is one of the most frequently used appliances in the home. As such, you can lower your electric bill significantly when you know how to maximise its use. Here are some of the ways to get the most out of your washing machine and save on power costs in the process:
Wash at full loads. Wait until you have enough laundry for a full load before using the washing machine. Note that washing a few clothing items or half loads uses the same amount of electricity as a full batch.
Go easy on detergent. Make it a point to use the right amount of detergent. Adding too much detergent produces more suds that require longer rinsing time and more electricity.
Pre-soak dirty laundry. Separate and pre-soak dirty clothes before washing them in the machine. This way, you can cut the cleaning time significantly.
Watch Television Together
Instead of going to your separate rooms after dinner to watch television shows or movies individually, why not make TV or movie viewing a bonding activity for your family? Apart from enjoying significant energy savings because electricity consumption will be confined to one area of your home, spending more time with your family also brings other remarkable advantages by way of strengthening your family’s bond and encouraging better communication.
There is no single way to reduce your monthly electric bill. Saving energy requires making smart choices, acquiring energy-saving habits, and doing them consistently. Start lowering your electricity consumption today by considering the steps above and ensuring that every member of your family is doing their part in saving energy.
*This is a guest blog by Kimberly Mendez.