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Easier than you think

How to Have a Lower Electricity Bill in New York City

Kimberly Hutchings
May 9, 2023

It's no secret that living in New York City can be expensive, and sky-high electricity bills certainly don't make things easier. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration, residential electricity prices have climbed 10% in the last decade, and those prices are only getting higher! 

Pair that with the most expensive rental market in the country (the median rent price in New York City rose by 56% in the last two years — ouch!), and it's no wonder that residents are looking for ways to cut back and save. Luckily, we have some tips to help you do just that.

Keep reading for five simple tips to help lower your electricity bill in New York City.

Effective ways to lower your monthly electricity bill.

Weatherstrip your apartment or home. 

Weatherstripping is a valuable tool to close off air leaks in your apartment or home, helping to insulate your space better and ensure your home's heating and cooling system isn't working overtime — plus, it's generally renter-friendly!

You can find weatherstripping materials easily at most hardware stores, but before you begin, you'll want to identify the spots where air leaks are present. Getting a professional assessment is usually best, but a visual evaluation is also a great place to start if that option isn't available! 

The US Department of Energy recommends beginning your visual assessment by looking for cracks and gaps in the following indoor spaces:

  • Electrical outlets and switch plates
  • Doors and window frames
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Baseboards
  • Attic hatches
  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners
  • Cable TV and phone line connections
  • Vents and fans

Once you've found your leaky spots, the rest is quite simple (and affordable!). The average cost of weatherstripping projects is only $279, and installation is straightforward enough that you should be able to do it yourself, even if you're a home project newbie!

A comprehensive guide to savings on your electricity bill.

Get "smart" about your heating and cooling habits.

Weatherstripping isn't the only way to maximize your home's heating and cooling abilities! A few shifts to your heating and cooling habits can also help you lower your electricity bill.

For example, consider shifting your home's thermostat temperature to more closely reflect the temperature outside. And no, that doesn't mean keeping your home freezing in the wintertime. Instead, think of it this way: for every degree your home's temperature is closer to the temperature outdoors, the less energy it will take to heat or cool your space.

The US Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 68°F in the wintertime and following the opposite strategy in summer, keeping the temperature as warm as is comfortable day-to-day and even warmer when you're not at home.

Plus, by investing in a smart thermostat, you can keep tabs on your home's internal temperature even when you're on the go. They're great if you forget to adjust your settings before a weekend away, and you can even create automatic schedules to increase and decrease your home's temperature based on your daily habits.

Looking to invest? Our pick is the Google Nest Thermostat or the ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat — they're simple to install and easy to operate right from your smartphone.

Strategies and practices to achieve a lower electricity bill.

Keep an eye on your home's energy vampires.

Our next tip tackles some of your home's biggest secret offenders — the energy vampires.

Energy vampires are appliances or devices that continue to draw power even in standby mode. Some of the biggest culprits are your televisions, computers, gaming systems and kitchen appliances like toasters, microwaves, kettles and coffee machines.

The easiest way to manage these energy-vampire devices (and lower your electricity bill in the process) is to either unplug them entirely when not in use or attach them to smart plugs. Smart plugs allow you to manually turn off power to certain outlets with just the tap of a button, as well as build automatic routines that match your daily schedules.

These routines will enable you to turn off power to specific devices during particular times of the day (such as when you're away at work or asleep) and prevent those energy-vampire devices from wasting unnecessary electricity.

This one from Amazon is only $11 and is one of our favorites!

Opt for efficiency when upgrading your home appliances.

Over 67% of homes in New York City are rented, which can leave many residents' hands tied when it comes to investing in home upgrades that can help lower electricity bills. One option for upgrading, however, that remains open to renters and homeowners alike is the opportunity to upgrade your home's appliances to ones with greater energy efficiency.

ENERGY STAR appliances meet a set of strictly set energy-efficiency standards put forward by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Not only are they better for the planet, but their enhanced efficiency means they’ll cost less for you to use them too!

For instance, qualifying ENERGY STAR refrigerators operate at least 15% more efficiently than standard refrigerators. That can equate to some significant electricity savings over time!

Plus, with the Inflation Reduction Act's new tax credits, which rolled out in January of 2023, you can claim up to 30 percent of the cost of qualifying appliance upgrades to a maximum of $600 on next year's income taxes — win!

Pay attention to peak usage times. 

And finally, our fifth tip for lowering your electricity bill in New York City is to pay attention to peak usage times. In New York City, peak usage times are between 8:00 am and midnight daily, and if you're on ConEdison's special time-of-use rates, you can find major savings by shifting some of your usage to off-peak hours. 

During peak times, electricity is more expensive. In fact, in the summer months in New York, it can cost over 25 cents per kWh to power your home. However, you can take advantage of significantly lower electricity prices (like 1.80 cents per kWh) by shifting some of your consumption habits to off-peak hours. Consider using energy-hogging devices like dishwashers and laundry machines during these more cost-effective times to maximize your savings.

And, with OhmConnect, you can get rewarded for this simple switch too! 

OhmConnect is a free service that alerts you through text or email to the times when electricity is most expensive in your neighborhood, giving you the insider knowledge to know when to power down and save.

These energy-saving events are typically an hour or less in length and occur during peak usage times. Just for participating and powering down some (or all!) of your home's devices, you'll earn points that can be traded in for cash, gift cards, prizes and more. 

That's because OhmConnect takes the energy you save and sells it back to the grid, sharing those profits with you. Lower electricity bills and money back in your wallet? Yes, please!

Signing up is free and simple — click here to learn more and get started today.

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