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LOWER UTILITY BILLS

Connect2Lower Utility Bills

Out of ideas for cutting back your utility bills? Try these tips, and be sure to find out if you’re eligible for lower rates through any national and local assistance programs.

Electricity, Gas & Water

Contacting the utility companies you use for electricity, gas, and water should be first on your list.

First, utilities often contract with different providers that charge lower rates and you may be able to switch.

Second, most offer lower-cost programs to eligible households — you just need to apply to find out if you qualify. One call could reduce your monthly bill.

You can also look for ways to reduce your daily energy consumption:

  • Unplug appliances — toasters, cell phone chargers, computers — when you’re not using them
  • Turn down your hot water heater to 120° F
  • Run your dishwasher, washer and dryer during your energy provider’s off-peak times — usually at night
  • Clean or replace your heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) filter monthly for maximum efficiency
  • Control your thermostat or better yet, install a programmable one that automatically adjusts based on the current temperature

Cell Phone

A good first step? Contacting your current cell phone carrier to see if you can switch to a lower-priced plan. Plan options change all the time, so it’s worth asking.

Second, if you’re receiving benefits from programs like Medicaid, food stamps/SNAP, Supplemental Security Income, or other government programs, you may qualify for reduced-cost plans through the federal Lifeline Program.

If you’re currently in a contract plan, make sure you’re signed up for auto-pay and paperless billing — that can save you $5 to $10 a month, depending on the carrier.

Finally, pay-as-you-go or prepaid plans are the simplest way to save. If you use your phone infrequently — or have a phone mostly for the peace of mind of knowing you can reach family or medical professionals in an emergency — then this is really your most affordable option.

Internet

Is a competing provider offering a promotion? Your current internet provider may honor their pricing if you let them know you’re considering a switch.

There are also low-cost programs offered through internet service providers (ISPs) that can help reduce the cost of staying connected. Again, if you are on certain government assistance programs, you may already qualify for these inexpensive internet plans. Ask your internet provider if you’re eligible.

Finally, if you’re currently bundling your internet with cable, consider cancelling cable and purchasing a streaming device like a Roku. You’ll be able to watch many of the same channels, which “stream” over the internet. The cost of a Netflix or Hulu subscription is usually far less than a typical cable bill.

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