13:48 PM

Becoming the Boss: How I Gained Control Over My Power Bill

Every year as March gives way to April, I vow to add to spring cleaning tasks an analysis of my energy use with plans to address the culprits that pump up my power bill. But before I know it, summer’s almost over and I’m getting the kids ready for school again.

This year, thanks to the new My Energy Use portal and the Home Energy Monitor at jacksonemc.com, I finally conquered this elusive spring chore.

When it comes to cutting energy bills, My Energy Use is a cool tool in Jackson EMC’s ever-expanding toolbox. This personal Web portal allows you to view your energy use on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, comparing highs and lows in order to better manage energy use—and bring down your electric bill.

It’s a lot like Weight Watchers online, but instead of assessing eating habits in order to improve nutrition and lose weight, you discover your energy usage habits in order to use less electricity and lower your power bill.

Getting started is easy. Just log in to your online member account at ebill.jacksonemc.com and click on the My Energy Use button. The Dashboard that pops up features your energy use over the last 30 days, allowing you to see how your usage compares to electricity consumed the previous month.

Using the easy-to-follow instructions at the portal, you can view your energy use in the format you choose, whether that’s hourly usage, weekly or monthly. You also can view and compare billing cycles. Overlays allow you to compare usage from a year ago or determine how last week’s weather affected your energy consumption.

Being able to study energy use data that is unique to my home gives me the ability to better understand how and when my family uses energy. This eye-opening information enabled me to discover our usage patterns—and come up with ways to use energy in a more conservative, and cost-saving, manner.

For me, seeing a spike in usage on Saturdays reminded me that mid-day in hot weather is not the best time to wash and dry clothes or cook big meals, so I rescheduled those chores to early morning or evening.

Another handy component of the My Energy Use portal is the ability to set up an email alert to inform you when your energy use reaches a limit you’ve set, giving you more control over your power usage and the power bill that follows. Likewise, notifications can be established to let you know when something out of the ordinary causes more energy consumption than usual.

Navigating the new portal is easy, even if you, like me, are not the most technology-savvy. A Library Tab gives access to more resources that show how to make the most of the My Energy Use portal, and there’s a video tutorial to walk you through the site.

Last, but far from least, when you have a handle on your energy use—when you’ve discovered your usage patterns and the energy busters that boost your power bill—the Home Energy Monitor provides practical solutions to address those busters.

For me, the Home Energy Monitor is to the My Energy Use portal what the Weight Watchers cookbook is to the weight loss program: It offers smart and practical recipes tailored to help achieve a desired result. Plug in a few details about your home, appliances and energy usage, and the Home Energy Monitor evaluates the info and delivers actions you can take to decrease energy use and costs.

Shifting my thermostat from 74 degrees to 78 this summer hasn’t been so hard, especially when I know that the more I dial it up, the more my bill comes down. And now that I’ve noticed that tiny sliver of sunlight peeking through at my front door, I’ve decided to rip out and replace the weather stripping around all my doors; it’s a simple chore that will cost just a few dollars—and save a few more each month.

With My Energy Use and the Home Energy Monitor, I’ve found information unique to the way I use electricity—and practical ways to stay on top of my energy use.

Best of all, my power bill isn’t the boss of me anymore. I’m in charge!