smart spending

5 ways to slash home energy bills

Sign up for rebate and tax credit programs
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Many local utility companies offer savings and rebate programs that reduce monthly bills.

For example, Florida Power & Light's "On Call" program offers a small monthly credit to customers who allow FPL to turn off certain appliances and devices for short periods of time. The service is only activated during times of heavy energy demand, but consumers receive the credit each month.

"These programs typically don't actually save energy," Harley says. "However, they certainly provide a legitimate way to save some money on your bills."

Customers generally experience "little or no inconvenience" in terms of service interruptions, Harley says. Contact your utility company to learn more.

State and federal government incentives for retrofitting a home to make it more "green" also can save you cash "if you actually need what the rebate is for," Porterfield says.

Visit the U.S. Department of Energy and Energy Star Web sites for a listing of energy tax credits. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency offers a listing of other local, state and federal incentives.

SAVINGS: Rebate programs typically save homeowners from $5 to $15 per month off their utility bills, Harley says. Tax credits potentially can amount to thousands of dollars.




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