Simple, practical ways to save energy (and on your electricity bill)

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Simple, practical ways to save energy (and on your electricity bill)
Learn handy hacks from the kitchen to the living room

Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by Meralco Enterprise and was produced by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the publishing of this piece.

We’ve all probably wanted to live in our refrigerators at some point. With the looming threat of El Niño, our bills are feeling the heat as well.

Did you know that according to Meralco, electricity consumption can increase as much as 40% during the hot weather months? While the season may want to make us stay inside, there’s no reason we should compromise our comfort and overall health.

Alongside the Women’s Business Council, Meralco held the “Energy Efficiency at Home and In Business” webinar to empower users on how to not just save up on their electricity bill for today, and be wiser consumers in the long run.

Led by Senior Assistant Vice President (SAVP) and head of Meralco Home and Microbiz Group Maita Basa-David, and fellow SAVP and head of Meralco Biz Joy Mendoza, the event saw key leaders and entrepreneurs share insights and some lesser-known tips on how to lessen the load of our electrical bills. Here are some ways you can save energy.

Learn right-sizing

How many are you at home? How big is your refrigerator? Is all the space being used or do you just keep adding more and more food?

Meralco suggests choosing a refrigerator with just the right size for you and the family because having one too big cost wasted electricity, while a small refrigerator makes the appliance’s compressor work harder to keep cool.

As a good rule of thumb, Basa-David suggests that a three-member family to stick with a 7-cu ft to 10-cu ft refrigerator, a four-member family move up to 11 to 13-cu ft, and so on based on the Meralco size chart below:

It’s also best to remember that appliances with a cooling and heating system are the ones that consume the most energy.

More refrigerator tips from Meralco Power Lab tests*:

  • Avoid putting warm food inside the fridge. Did you know that you can save as much as P20.43/month on your total bill if you wait for food to cool down before storing inside the fridge? 

(Baseline=P228.15/month; With warm food=P248.58/month)

  • If your fridge isn’t full, don’t use it in the highest setting. Adjusting it to the mid-setting will save you up to P202.09 per month!

(High setting=P414.49/month; Mid setting=P212.40/month)

  • Regularly clean out leftovers to avoid an overloaded fridge. A bit of spring cleaning of your fridge equals an estimated P247.77 per month of savings on your electricity bill.

(70% loading=P212.40/month; 100% loading=P460.17/month)

*As tested by Meralco Power Lab on a 7 cu ft conventional refrigerator

Avoid phantom loading

“Phantom loading,” sometimes called “ghost loading,” essentially means the power that is still being consumed by plugged-in appliances even when they’re switched off.

  • Desktop computer = P123.78
  • Washing Machine = P21.33
  • Rice Cooker = P37.69
  • Cellphone Charger = P1.61
  • Television = P1.22
  • TV Box = P22.15
  • ACU = P0.84
  • Wi-Fi router = P42.18

Look around your room right now. Is there something charging that doesn’t need to be? Is your extension cord button turned on even when nothing is plugged in? It’s best to still unplug them entirely and other devices when not in use to save up to P250.80 each month based on Meralco Power Lab tests. Here’s the monthly cost of leaving home appliances unplugged:

On a larger scale, phantom loading can also be utilized by businesses by learning about Peak / Off-Peak Solution, an alternative energy pricing scheme to help businesses lower their electricity expenses by shifting when they start operations. This is most common for companies that have machine-intensive 24/7 operations.

Typical peak hours are from Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 9 pm, while off-peak hours are from 9 pm to 8 am and most of Sundays.

“If you will be able to shift more of your operations to more than 48% in the evening, the more you will be able to get more savings from this program,” shared Mendoza, as there is a substantial rate change when operations are done during peak hours vs. off-peak hours.

Find the “invisible”

We’ve all heard the “lalabas ‘yung aircon” line growing up. With your fridge, cold air might be seeping out of it too. Turns out, avoiding air leaks may just be one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re spending your money’s worth on your cooling gadgets.

A handy tip is to do the paper test on your refrigerator. To do this, simply put a piece of paper halfway through your fridge door and close it. It should be able to hold the paper in place without it falling to the floor.

When you do pull it, there should be some resistance to make sure the air inside is locked tight. If you can pull the paper too easily, it may be time to check in on further air leaks.

Switch to energy-efficient measures

Since cooling and heating appliances take up the most energy, upgrading to inverter types can be a great investment to lighten your electricity bill in the long run. Inverter-type appliances go from the usual direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

With this switch, the appliance’s inner motors can automatically control its voltage, current, and frequency to adapt to the environment. With these self-adjusted settings, Meralco found that inverter-type aircon units can save up to 30% to 64% of consumption compared to conventional air conditioning units.

As for businesses, Mendoza also suggested that food and beverage companies opt for inverter chest freezers and chillers for the safe keeping of their products to save up to *P315.71 per month and P290.06 per month, respectively. 

*Vs. conventional appliances

*Cost to operate (CTO) per month

  • Inverter Chest Freezer 7 cu ft = P189.37
  • Conventional Chest Freezer 7 cu ft = P505.07

  • Inverter Chillder 35.32 cu ft = P728.73
  • Conventienional Chiller = P1018.79

Switching to solar power can also be a good move for companies that have the capacity, with Mendoza once again emphasizing right-sizing, choosing the best location for installation, and choosing the right solar provider with Meralco.

Other upgrading tips:

  • Switch to motion sensor lights for seldom-visited rooms.
  • Regardless if it’s an inverter or a window-type AC, dirty appliances take higher energy to operate. Clean your air filter every two weeks and schedule general cleaning for every three months to achieve P208 per month in savings. 
  • Don’t just stick with inverter fridges and air conditioning units. Even electric fans can be upgraded from a DC to an AC setup.

CTO per month

1 hp conventional, window type ACU (clean) = P756

*Nighttime usage, 8 hours a day (9 pm-5 am)

Finally, track your consumption

As much as it hurts to see how much our summer cooling saviors are eating our bill, it’s important to know how much we should keep our usage in check.

“Energy is controllable, therefore it’s measurable,” shared Mendoza. “Anything measurable can be controlled and can be managed. We are energy efficient if we could do more with less – because efficiency is a way of life.”

To avoid bill shock, check out the Meralco Appliance Energy Calculator to find out how much your everyday gadgets and appliances consume energy and take up your bill.

To use the feature, simply input your average monthly bill, the appliance you think takes up the most energy, and how often the household uses it. From there, Meralco will share its cost per hour, day, week, and month, to see just how much it contributes to your regular bill. The truth will set you free – or at least make you more mindful next time.

Looking for more tips? Check out the Meralco Bright Ideas microsite that empowers customers with knowledge on energy-efficiency solutions for each room of the house – from the bedroom, laundry room, kitchen, and more.

Learn how Meralco can help empower businesses through tailor-fit expert energy solutions by visiting the Power Ideas microsite. You can also watch the full Energy Efficiency at Home and in Business webinar here.

These handy tips might just help you (and your electricity bill) for more cycles of hot weather to come. What other energy-saving tips do you swear by? – Rappler.com

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Meralco Enterprise

Meralco Enterprise serves the energy needs of customers with power requirements of 500kW and up.