Serving Up Savings | OEC News

Extra energy savings during the hustle and bustle of the holidays

The holiday season is just around the corner, and soon, festive music will flood the airwaves, sparkling lights and decorations will adorn homes and businesses, and good tidings will abound.

The holidays also bring a frenzy of decorating, cooking and family gatherings, and amid the hectic hustle and bustle, you may receive higher-than-usual energy bills.

Keeping this in mind, I thought this month would be a good time to remind Oklahoma Electric Cooperative members of a few programs and efficiency tips to help lower your monthly energy use.

Programs designed to help you save

Winter months typically bring some of the highest energy bills of the year. Making minor, low-cost improvements, like weatherstripping exterior doors and caulking around old, drafty windows, can make a positive impact on energy bills. If you’re unsure where to start, contact OEC to schedule a free home energy audit.

We also offer time-of-use electric rates, which can help you achieve greater savings by controlling when you use the most energy at home. Okcoop.org/rates

Our team of member service representatives is available to help, so I encourage you to give us a call if you’d like to learn about specific programs and services that can lower your bills.

Be festive without breaking the bank

For members who bring the Christmas decorations down from the attic faster than we can finish the Thanksgiving turkey, switching to LEDs might save you some energy this season.

LED holiday lights use 88% less energy than incandescent holiday lights. To put that into perspective, the Department of Energy estimates that with standard holiday decorations, LED lights typically increase energy bills by about $5 to $7. But with incandescent lights, energy bills will typically increase by $33 or more. For homes that go above and beyond with incandescent holiday lighting (think Clark Griswold), energy bills could increase by as much as $350. Beyond energy savings, LEDs provide additional benefits, such as shock-resistant, shatterproof and cool to the touch, making them safer for the home.

You can also lower energy use by conveniently managing holiday lighting. Smart light timers can help you save energy by connecting to a smartphone app or voice assistant to program lights to turn on and off at set times. If you don’t use smart home technology, you can still save energy by using traditional timers.

Additional easy ways to save during the holiday season include turning off overhead lights and using your Christmas tree to illuminate your home. If you have a fireplace, remember to close the flue when you’re not burning a fire to ensure heat doesn’t escape through the chimney.

Cook up energy savings in the kitchen

If you plan to have family and friends over this holiday season, you can save energy by using small countertop appliances like microwaves, air fryers and slow cookers, when possible, as they use much less energy than the stovetop or oven.

When using the oven, bake multiple dishes at once for maximum efficiency. After all, it takes as much energy to cook one dish as it does to cook several. Turn the oven off a few minutes before the recipe’s end time and allow the residual heat to finish baking the dish. Once the food is done, leave the stove door ajar to allow the residual heat to warm the room. When using the stovetop, match the pan size to the burner to maximize the stove top’s efficiency.

I hope a few of these tips will be helpful as we approach the holiday season. Remember, we’re here to answer any questions you have about managing energy use or your monthly bills. With a little planning upfront, you can find efficient ways to save on everything from holiday décor to your favorite soup recipes.

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