View On Energy

Turn the lights off!

By Keith Buchhalter, Public Affairs Specialist Overton Power District No. 5



I can hear him now, “Keith, turn the lights off!” That was my dad, twenty-five years ago. I used to get so annoyed every time he said those four words. Ironically, I find myself repeating those exact four words to my kids every time I catch them leaving the lights on in an empty room. Now, I look back and see the wisdom in my dad’s words: Why pay for something you don’t use?


After twelve years working in the utility industry and answering thousands of times the question “How can I save on my next electric bill?”, I realize that most of the tips I share, I learned while I was growing up. Also, you don’t have to spend money to save money; simple changes in how you do things at home can have a positive impact on your next electric bill.


Let me share with you ten of my favorite no-cost/low-cost tips to save on your next electric bill:


  1. Turn off lights when not in use or when natural daylight is sufficient. This can reduce lighting expenses by ten to forty percent.


  1. Maximize daylighting. After all, sunlight is free! Open or close blinds to make the best use of natural daylight and take advantage of skylights or other natural daylight sources to reduce lighting during daytime hours.


  1. Use shades and blinds to control direct sun through windows in both summer and winter to prevent or encourage heat gain.


  1. Use ceiling fans to push hot air down in winter, and to keep air circulating so you feel cooler in summer.


  1. Vacuum coils behind or underneath refrigerator or freezer twice a year. Set the refrigerator to thirty-eight to forty degrees Fahrenheit, and stand-alone freezers to zero degrees Fahrenheit.


  1. Unplug battery chargers for mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other devices when not in use. They use energy even when they are not actively charging anything.


  1. Use the energy-saver drying options on your dishwasher. Let dishes air dry, if possible, to save more energy.


  1. Add weather stripping to drafty doors and windows.


  1. Close windows and window coverings in hot weather during the day to keep hot air out. Open windows at night or early morning to let cool air in.


  1. Dry two or more loads in a row when doing laundry to take advantage of the heat that is still in the dryer from previous loads. Hang clothes to air dry when possible. Clean lint filters after drying each load of clothes.


For more energy savings tips, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Visit us online at From all of us at Overton Power District No. 5, we hope you find value in this information. We would love to hear your favorite energy saving tips. Email us at


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