On February 17th, after a celebratory birthday brunch my roommate and I were greeted by Con Edison employees in the lobby of our building. They were knocking on resident’s doors to distribute new energy saving light bulbs, power cords and water saving faucets and shower heads. The Con Edison Staff was very helpful and nice as they explained that the equipment was being given out for free to decrease our energy bills. They also made sure to let us know how each device worked and how it should be installed. Our building was participating in a Con Edison energy- efficiency program for multi-family homes. My roommate and I joked about her new birthday presents on the way up to our suite.
Our Con Edison bills had been very high in the past couple of months, reaching up to $150 per person. Being college students and living in Manhattan is not financially easy. The rent and bills are too high. It was also frustrating because we were never at the apartment for long periods of time, only to sleep. We also never invested in major electrical appliances other than our toaster, hairdryer, cell phones and laptops. After looking at the Con Ed website, I learned that due to this winter’s increase in the cost of natural gas, the cost of electricity went up as well. Con Edison is helping residents manage these increased bills by offering a level payment plan over the course of 12 months. However, this plan was not very well advertised and many NY residents do not know about it.
After about a week, we decided to be proactive and put the light bulbs in. When we took the fixtures off we found out that each one had three light bulbs that were distributing light into the respective rooms. With the new light bulbs, one was bright enough to be used in each fixture. The only downside to this was that the new CFL bulbs took about 30-60 seconds to warm up to full brightness.
The new power strips from Tricklestar® took a little more brain power to figure out. These are estimated to cost around $40 so we were quite happy that we had received two for free from Con Ed. It had 7 outlets in it; two for “always on”, one for “control” and four for “switched”. What this meant was that our TV was the “control” electronic and game consoles were the “switched” electronics. They would be plugged into the TV and could not turn on unless the TV was switched on. A very smart power strip if you ask me. This helped us regulate the amount of devices that we were using power in our house.
I would recommend changing all the lights and power strips in your house as soon as possible to newer energy saver bulbs and strips. Not only does this decrease the amount of energy consumption, but it will alsoleave more money in your wallet. Although, I understand that the initial cost of these devices is a little more expensive than the existing ones, it would only be a onetime investment. This month our bill was only $35, a big decrease from our previous bill. I will be fully equipping my apartment with energy saving devices from now on.