November 2, 2011
Duke Energy is set to raise rates for North and South Carolina beginning as early as February. The exact increase amount is a bit up in the air at the moment. Duke Energy is proposing an increase of 15%. North Carolina's utility-customer advocate group is proposing to cut this to 4.9%. I have to agree that 15% is a pretty lofty increase for a utility! Why now you ask in these downtrodden economic times? Duke Energy states since 2009 they have invested more than $4.8 billion to modernize an aging electric system.
This increase is even more reason you should think about updating your older HVAC equipment! Today's best air conditioning and heating units use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount as units from the early 1990s! By upgrading to a more efficient model you could also be eligible for a tax credit.
Other interesting information from Duke Energy:
Across the country and here in the Carolinas, the electric utility industry is in a rising cost environment due to several factors.
- Aging generating facilities: In the Carolinas, the average age of Duke Energy Carolinas' coal-fired plants is 61 years.
- Increased environmental regulations: Over the next seven years, Duke Energy Carolinas will retire approximately 18 older, less efficient coal-fired units, because it is not cost-effective, or in some cases even possible, to retrofit these older units with emission control technologies.
- Projected growth and demand: Over the next 20 years, North Carolina’s population is projected to increase by 4 million people, and South Carolina’s population is projected to increase by 1.1 million people.
Approximately three-fourths of the rate increase would allow Duke Energy Carolinas to begin recovering $4.8 billion in investments made since 2009 to modernize our electric system and comply with emissions regulations.
Major projects include construction of a new natural gas-fired power plant, environmental emissions equipment and financing costs associated with building a new state-of-the art unit at the Cliffside coal plant, and upgrades to the system of poles, wires and equipment that delivers power to homes and businesses.
The remaining fourth covers the impacts of lower than expected electric sales due to the recession, additional financing and other general costs. This increase in electric rates better aligns the rates our customers pay with the cost to provide affordable, reliable and clean electricity today, and for decades to come.
We found another nice resource from Duke Energy called Youtility. It's a Duke Energy sister site that give tips and other resources on how you can save power and decrease your energy consumption which in turn saves you money.
No one likes to see a utility increase, but we as consumers have the ability to affect our bill. Simple things like turning your water heater temperature down, opening your blinds to allow sun in, installing a programmable thermostat, etc. can cut your bill down quite a bit. Not to mention the above idea of upgrading your heating and cooling system, because heating and cooling is known to contribute to 50% of your power bill! Contact us today for a free estimate.
November 1, 2011
Here at MTB we are constantly watching market trends and trying to stay ahead of the curve. We especially love products that are energy efficient and can save you money! We've recently stumbled across a new thermostat company that is garnering a lot of attention. If the thermostat to the left looks sleek, simple and modern it should.
Two of the founders spent quite a few years at Apple working on various projects. Most recently they helped develop some of the latest iPod and iPad designs.
Since heating and cooling makes up for about 50% of your power bill, they saw a big gap in the market for thermostats. Thermostats have traditionally been a boring box that you have to keep manually changing the setting or they are programmable. I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm reasonably intelligent and the programmable thermostats I've experienced are insanely complex.
According to the nest site, you teach nest in about a week. As more time passes the more it will learn your temperature preferences and save you money. Additionally nest can connect to wi-fi. This means you can connect remotely via your smartphone or laptop to adjust the temperature.
The nest site is great and has a lot of fun videos and additional information.
The unit is selling for $249 and hasn't been officially released.