In any move, utilities are important and arrangements for utility connections should be made well in advance of your move to ensure you will have service when you need it. However, another important aspect to consider when starting fresh is how you can make small but important changes that will benefit both the environment and your wallet.
In Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers and more than 1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. It also serves about 500 steam customers in downtown Milwaukee. If you’re looking to start, stop or transfer your residential electric and/or natural gas service, requests can be made online by clicking here, or by calling (800) 242-9137. [Please note that online requests require at least two business days (Monday-Friday) before your requested date of service.]
In addition to standard residential rates, We Energies offers customers additional rate options including:
• Renewable Energy Rates, where customers can choose to participate in company’s Energy for Tomorrow renewable energy program, which gives customers the option to pay a premium for the company to obtain generation fueled by renewable resources. Use of renewable energy resources has a positive impact on the environment and reduces the consumption of non-renewable resources.
• Time-of-Use: With the company’s Time-of-Use program, you pay a lower rate when the demand for electricity is low (weeknights, weekends and holidays) and a higher rate when demand is high (weekdays on-peak hours).
We Energies is also committed to helping customers improve home energy use, offering both general energy (and money) saving tips, as well as personalized recommendations.
A full list of “101 Money-Saving Tips” can be found here, but here are a few we found to be especially helpful for those who may be moving to the area and we’ve adapted them accordingly:
HEATING & COOLING
• Select an energy-efficient central air conditioner by looking at the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit. Or, get your current unit tuned up. Have your central air conditioner tuned up by a qualified heating contractor every other year. This can help the unit operate more efficiently and may prevent failures in the middle of peak cooling season.
• Purchase an energy-efficient furnace. Select an energy-efficient furnace model by looking for an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of 90 percent or greater.
• Use natural gas for heating. Consider switching to a natural gas heating system. Natural gas is less expensive than other heating fuels.
• When buying a new refrigerator or freezer, look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star refrigerators and freezers can save you hundreds of dollars on your electric bill over the life of the appliance. If you’re moving to a place with appliances included, remember that older refrigerators and freezers use two to three times more electricity than ones that are 10 years old or less.
• Consider a natural gas range or oven. Natural gas appliances cost less to operate than electric appliances and offer better temperature control. Moving an older model or moving into a house with appliances? Make sure the oven seals tightly. Even a small gap allows heat to escape and wastes energy. If you can move a dollar bill through the closed door, the seal is not tight enough and should be replaced.
• Place your washer close to the water heater. Water loses heat as it flows through pipes. When the washer is located near the water heater, hot water doesn’t have to travel as far to reach the washer, and less heat is lost. Insulating the pipes between the water heater and washer helps retain heat, too.
• Speaking of water heaters, purchase an energy-efficient model. The initial cost may be more but operating costs are less in the long run. Consider a tankless or instantaneous water heater, which uses energy only when hot water is needed, rather than maintaining 40 gallons or more of hot water all the time. Purchase the correct size. Consider your family’s hot water needs. If your water heater is too large, it uses more energy than needed. If it is too small, you may run out of hot water.
• Purchase a natural gas water heater. If you currently have an electric water heater, consider replacing it with a natural gas water heater. When it comes to heating water, natural gas is less expensive than electricity, and it heats more water faster during heavy use. Consider a sealed combustion or an on-demand water heater. Both types use less energy.
LITTLE CHANGES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
• Repair dripping faucets promptly. If the faucet leaks hot water, the energy used to heat it is costing you money. (One drop a second can waste up to 48 gallons a week!)
• Use Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs. Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs last longer and use up to 75 percent less energy than standard light bulbs. You can cut your electric bill by $60 per year if you replace the standard bulbs in your five most frequently used light fixtures. Properly dispose of compact fluorescent light bulbs at your local household hazardous waste collection site.
Finally, We Energies also partners with Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy, offers many programs—including cash-back incentives—to help residents save in energy costs by making simple changes in their homes.
Focus on Energy residential programs include:
• Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program: provides home energy assessments that pinpoint exactly how to make your home more energy efficient, and connects you to financial rewards for improvement. Enhanced rewards are also available for income-qualified participants.
• New Homes Program: pairs prospective homeowners with builders and energy experts to construct new homes that are between 10 and 100 percent more efficient than homes built to Wisconsin’s Uniform Dwelling Code.
• Express Energy Efficiency Program: provides free, professional installation of energy-saving products that can help you save up to 10% on your utility bills.
• Residential Rewards Program: offers hundreds of dollars in Cash-Back Rewards for heating and cooling equipment, water heating equipment, and air sealing and attic insulation. Enhanced rewards are also available for income-qualified participants.
• Appliance Recycling Program: offers free pickup and recycling of old refrigerators and freezers, and a $50 reward for each working appliance you recycle.
• Lighting and Appliance Program: offers instant, in-store discounts on a variety of energy-efficient lighting and water-saving products at participating retailers throughout Wisconsin.
• Renewable Energy: Focus on Energy offers Cash-Back Rewards for renewable energy installations and will connect you with experts who can help you determine if your property is a good candidate for a renewable system.
In sum, before you make a move, it’s well worth it to take the time up front to consider how you can help save energy and your bottom line at the same time.