Two easy ways to save money on your electric bill

Nobody likes paying electric bills. Fortunately, new technologies can optimize your thermostat settings to reduce your energy use and save you money.

Pepco is introducing new digital thermostats that let customers set their home temperature manually or over the web. The US Department of Energy estimates that using the new thermostat can reduce one’s annual energy costs by up to 10%. By setting the temperature remotely, you can always be sure to turn off heating and A/C when you are not at home, and have the house at the perfect temperature before you return.  

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Customers who want the new thermostats can have them installed at no cost, as part of their energy wise rewards program. As an added incentive, Pepco is also offering customers a $40 credit on their bill for opting into the program, and up to $40 annual credit for each thermostat installed. So if you’re looking to save money on your electricity costs, the new devices may be a good option. However, customers should be aware that by opting into the program, Pepco has the ability to alter your temperature by a certain amount during peak-energy usage periods, or what they call a “conservation period”. Customers may choose what range of temperature change they’d like to allow during these periods, such as 1-3 degrees.

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The thermostat of the future

What if Pepco isn’t your utility provider, or you want an even more sophisticated way to reduce your heating and cooling costs? Meet the Nest thermostat, a futuristic looking device that actually learns your energy use patterns and automatically adjusts the temperature to make your home more efficient. Tony Fadell, a former Apple product designer who helped to create the iPod, runs the company that makes Nest. It shows: the thermostat looks slick and is meant to be as user-friendly as possible. All you have to do is turn the wheel to adjust your temperature up or down. The Nest then picks up on patterns of when you tend to set cooler or warmer temperatures, and also can tell whether you are home with a built-in motion sensor. Its software then figures out the optimal temperature settings to minimize energy use while keeping you comfortable. It can be also controlled remotely and connects to your Internet connection via WiFi.