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A penny saved is a penny earned, especially when it comes to electric bills

It's a battle everyone shares: Keeping energy bills low both during the hot days common in the 209 and the colder winter months to come.

Calvin Curtin, of the Turlock Irrigation District and Mark Kirkes, owner of MK Electric & Design, have a few tips to help improve efficiency and therefore pocketbooks.

TID is one of four irrigation districts in California that provides irrigation water and electrical retail energy to homes, farms and businesses.

“The first step to conserving energy is to know how much you use,” Curtin said.

TID provides a home energy analysis included in customers' bills every month. It provides comparisons on a month to month basis on your home’s energy usage, and how you measure up against other homes in the TID district that are similar in size and age.

“You can set goals for conservation,” Curtin said. “For example, you may want to save X number of kilowatt hours... the energy analysis allows you to track that, is free and is already included on your bill.”

To customize your home energy analysis, log in to your account online with TID and you can add specific details about your home that will provide better comparisons.

“We are owned by customers and we return value to our customers in the form of lowered rates,” Curtin said. “If everyone works together to conserve energy, the less energy we have to generate. When we are efficient as a district, our rates can stay low.”

Modesto Irrigation District and Pacific Gas & Electric offer these services as well, so check with your local energy provider to see if you can utilize this helpful tool.

MK Electric & Design Inc. has been in business for over 30 years. Their energy saving tips are specific to your needs as their electrical company serves most of the Central Valley.

“Switching to LED lights can produce a drastic change in energy savings,” Kirkes said. “There are replacements to LED in just about every shape and form now.”

LEDs have a faster start time and are substantially durable since they are made from plastic, rather than glass.

“Fluorescent lights are also a great investment,” Kirkes said. “There’s about a 70 to 80 percent change from incandescent lighting to LED and another 20 percent when you convert to fluorescent.”

The more energy that people save, the less energy that your energy provider has to generate. That saves money for everyone.


• Whole house fans: Pulls air from open windows and exhausts it through the attic and roof. Very affordable in comparison to what it would cost to run an air conditioner.
• Check for rebate programs with your local energy provider. “TID offers rebate programs for appliances, washing machines and refrigerators when you replace them with a new Energy Star qualified one,” Curtin said. “There’s also rebates for sunscreens for windows, and something as simple as planting a shade tree near your home.”
• Plug electronics into a power strip and turn the strip off when not in use.
• Check your hot water pipes for leaks.
• Set your thermostat to “auto.” Leaving it in the “on” position keeps air running constantly, not just when needed.
• Consider high-performance windows, screens and films to block UV rays.