Ian Britton

Service Helps San Carlos Residents Reduce Their Electric Bills

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New Service to Help San Carlos Residents Cut Electric Bills and Carbon Footprint

A new service was started in San Carlos last month to help local homeowners reduce their electric bills and carbon footprint.  The service is called PowerDowntm, and is managed by San Carlos resident Chris Hunt.  PowerDown bills itself as an “electricity auditing service” that comes to your house, examines your family’s electricity usage, and installs energy-saving equipment the same day.

“We come in and within a few hours homeowners have heard the advice, made decisions and taken simple steps to cut their bills” says Chris.  “The biggest advantage clients find is that the job finally gets done.  Everyone has this on their To Do list but it’s 10 items down.”

By having someone come to the home not only prepared to make the changes but bringing the energy-saving devices, the savings can kick in immediately.  PowerDown temporarily installs an energy monitor that reads the power directly from the circuit breaker box, and spikes are noted as different appliances are powered on and off.  Once homeowners know what something is costing them, they can act.

To make that a reality, PowerDown also brings a variety of CFL bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs) to replace incandescent bulbs, plus various types of specialized power strips that are used to control entertainment centers and computer setups.  Just eliminating background power drains can make a noticeable difference.  Hunt does caution though that if your electric bills already average less then $135 month you are not doing badly now and there isn’t much more to reduce.  PowerDown clients with higher bills have seen anywhere from 10% to 25% reductions from month-to-month or year-over-year, particularly if they own pools and adjust downward the number of hours the pool pumps run each day.

CFL bulbs have also come a long way says Hunt.  “People remember the CFL bulbs from when they first came out and they were expensive, slow to light and gave off a dull glow.  You can still find bulbs like that in some stores but there are also great CFL bulbs available now in all shapes, sizes and prices.”

As for pending changes in the energy industry, Hunt is glad that Smart Meters are being installed in San Carlos as we speak and that will help people know what different items are costing them.  “But if homeowners don’t actually take the steps to reduce their overall power demands,” says Hunt, “just knowing to run laundry at 9 o’clock at night to take advantage of better pricing once the new Time-Of-Use (TOU) rates are in effect is not enough.”

Chris Hunt is a 12-year resident of San Carlos and former owner of San Carlos Wooden Boats, a firm specializing in high-end wooden kayaks and canoes.  Prior to building custom boats, Chris completed a successful 25 years in high-tech, holding various management positions at Silicon Valley Bank, Adobe and Oracle in addition to several startups.  A committed advocate of alternative energy and energy efficiency, Chris transformed his own house to be as efficient as possible and started PowerDown to help local residents realize the economic and environmental benefits of energy conservation.  “Every 30 incandescent bulbs we replace with CFLs means 2300 lbs of carbon emissions not created by power plants” says Hunt.  “I find San Carlos residents are just as interested in cutting their carbon footprint as they are their electric bills.”

For more information on PowerDown, please visit their website by clicking here.

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