North Dakotans use more electricity and have higher bills than residents in neighboring states, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports.
While North Dakotans pay nearly the lowest retail price per kilowatt for electricity in the nation, their average monthly bill is higher than in neighboring states, such as Minnesota and Montana, because of the higher energy usage.
North Dakotans could lower their bills by reducing their electricity consumption, and they have some simple ways to do that, says Carl Pedersen, energy educator with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.
Heating a home can use considerable amounts of energy, according to Pedersen. If a home that uses electric heat is not properly insulated and sealed to keep out the cold, the heating bill will be affected.
"Homeowners can take a quick look around for areas of heat loss," Pedersen says. "Is the basement insulated? Does the attic have at least 18 inches of insulation? Are there cold spots, indicating air leakage around doors and windows? These are questions homeowners can ask themselves."
Making wise purchases on appliances also can lower electric bills.
"Every appliance or electronic device you purchase has two prices associated with it: the original purchase price and the price of operating the device," Pedersen says.
For example, people frequently overlook televisions are a source of electricity usage, he says. Plasma televisions, which are very popular, may draw as much as 500 watts of electricity while in use.
People also may forget that devices such as televisions continue to draw electricity even when they are not in use because they are on standby power. TVs need to be on standby power, or use electricity constantly, for the remote control to work.
Doing a little research before purchasing a new electronic device could pay off, Pedersen says. Numerous websites provide energy consumption information for appliances to help people select the most energy-efficient items.
Look for the ENERGY STAR label. http://www.NDSU.edu/energy, or contact Pedersen at 701-231-5833 or carl.pedersen