When consumers face higher prices, the quickest way to reduce energy costs is simply to use less energy. One obvious factor affecting natural gas and electric bills is the weather, particularly extreme winter and summer temperatures. Simple conservation steps such as adjusting thermostats each season (lower in the winter, higher in the summer), replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents bulbs, purchasing energy efficient appliances labeled ENERGY STAR and having an energy audit of your home (free through your utility) are good ways to start.

Not only does reducing energy usage help households and businesses save money on their bills, it also decreases the strain on New England's electric grid during periods of "peak" energy use. During heat and cold waves, reducing the use of appliances, electronics and other electric devices helps prevent the region's electric grid from potentially overloading, which could cause service disruptions - or worse. Ideally, consumers should make efforts to avoid non-essential power usage between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., when the demand for power is highest.

Reducing energy use and promoting conservation are two ways in which individuals can support efforts to develop sustainable, efficient and environmentally sound energy options in the future. There are several other cost effective measures that residents can employ that will lower energy bills and help save significant amounts of energy.


Additional Resources

For more ideas, visit ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management to help build on the steps listed above and continue saving year after year. The ENERGY STAR Challenge includes information on establishing a building's energy use and setting a savings goal.

For more information on weatherization and insulation, see the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources fact sheet on insulation.

Additional information on energy audits and other conservation and efficiency tips is available at www.massSAVE.com. MassSAVE is a public/private partnership created to assist consumers in managing their energy use through efficiency and conservation. The website is a statewide clearinghouse for all programs offered to Massachusetts utility customers including the scheduling of energy audits through local energy utilities.

For information on special offers and rebates on energy efficient products, visit www.energystar.gov or the Energy Star Guide to Selecting Energy Efficient Windows.

Additionally, the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources offers assistance for businesses through its Commonwealth Energy Resource Teams .

More resources can be found in the .