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Energy Experts Give Tips To Slash Power Bills

Some local energy experts say many in east Idaho could cut their power bills nearly in half by changing a few habits.

With power tools, welding, and massive fabrication machines, Diversified Metal Products in Idaho Falls uses a whole lot of juice.

“Oh yeah, we use on the order of about $7,000 a month in energy,? Diversified President Nathan McMasters said.

That’s a pretty pricey power bill, but Diversified has made some energy efficient changes to change that number.

McMasters said what’s made this company successful during years where other companies have faltered is willingness to embrace what’s new.

“If you ask a question, ‘Why do we do it that way?’ And the only answer is that’s the way we’ve always done it, then there’s a 99 percent chance there’s a better way to do it,? McMasters said.

A group called Tech Help has pointed Diversified the way to being more efficient, like replacing an old compressor that sucked up loads of power while constantly breaking down.

Just with this change alone, Tech Help said Diversified is making back it’s investment in a single year.

“But it’s not a one shot deal. The energy savings will pay back year after year after year,? Tech Help Manufacturing Specialist David O’Connell said.

McMasters said saving the earth is a great goal, but he’s a businessman, so his motivation is all about the bottom line. He said today those goals are often one and the same.

“Absolutely, it’s a good green decision and a great business decision,? McMasters said.

Local energy experts said those same lessons apply to homeowners.

Jon Schwartz runs an energy efficiency company called Easy Solutions.

He said Idahoans have been spoiled with some of the lowest costs per kilowatt in the nation, but that could soon change as utility companies renegotiate rates in the next few years.

“So create this energy efficient foundation in your house first. So when those utility rates go up, which they’re going to, you’re not going to be hit as bad when it goes up 30 or 40 percent,? Schwartz said.

Schwartz said a few changes can save people hundreds of dollars each year.

For example, he said compact fluorescent light bulbs will use a fifth of the energy of regular incandescents

And an older inefficient model of a hot water heater can go a long ways to losing you hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs, even if it’s just five years old.

But not all bright ideas require buying anything, one of Schwartz’ suggestions was as simple as remembering to clean off the coils on the bottom of the fridge.

He many people leave these gunked up, and that make the fridge use a whole lot more energy and be a whole lot more likely to break down.

Schwartz said by themselves these ideas will save five percent off your monthly bill here and five more there, But added together, he said they make a monumental difference.

“All the little things that you can do yourself, its actually going to build up and your going to own your own power. You’re going to be more efficient and you’re not going to be as dependent on the utility company,? Schwartz said.

According to Schwartz there are a number of incentives from the government or utility companies, to help people and businesses pay for energy efficient changes.

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