COLUMBUS, OHIO – According to the National Federation of Independent Business, energy costs are one of the top three expenses in 35 percent of small businesses. Utility services including electric, natural gas and telephone are essential to running a business, but they do not have to break the budget.
By understanding utility services and implementing conservation habits, small business owners can reduce energy waste and develop energy savings and solutions. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) offers these tips to help manage small business utility costs.
- Pay attention to your bills. Reading and understanding your bills can help you detect problems early on. If you receive a bill that seems too low or too high, contact your utility company. It may be a sign of a faulty electric or natural gas meter, and getting the problem fixed can save you from overpaying or paying too little over a long period of time.
- Control the temperature. Lowering your thermostat in the winter and keeping the air conditioning at a reasonable temperature in the summer can result in significant savings on your heating and cooling bills. Installation of smart thermostats with features like automated climate control and usage analysis can also help businesses monitor and eliminate wasted usage.
- Check with your local utility for savings. Many utilities offer rebates, discounts and other energy efficiency programs to help consumers reduce their usage.
- Know your energy usage. Conducting a simple energy audit can help you find ways to conserve energy and reduce demand while discovering places where you may be wasting it. Your utility company may be able to conduct an energy audit for you, or you can look for tools online to help you do the audit yourself.
- Look for energy efficient appliances and equipment. Many large and small appliances have models available that are ENERGY STAR® approved for energy efficiency. You can also replace lighting with ENERGY STAR®compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs to increase the efficiency and the life of your lighting. There are also a variety of state and federal loan and grant programs to give businesses incentives to install energy efficient and renewable energy technologies.
- Know your options as an energy consumer. Look into your options as an energy consumer by visiting the PUCO’s Energy Choice Ohio website at energychoice.ohio.gov. There you will find the Apples to Applescomparison charts to compare generation rate offers by PUCO-certified electric and natural gas suppliers. Take note of the pass through costs related to transmission, and review your peak load contribution (PLC) with your utility and/or supplier.
By monitoring your utility bills and practicing energy conservation habits, small-business owners can make the best use of their business’s energy dollars. The PUCO offers a variety of information to help small businesses understand their bills and conserve energy. For more information, contact the PUCO at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) or www.PUCO.ohio.gov.