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How to set up and save on your utility bills


A thermostat displays the temperature Sept. 23 inside a student house. Students often try to find ways of keeping their utility costs down. Claire Livingston

Moving into an apartment or house can bring a sense of freedom. Along with that extra freedom comes additional bills and responsibilities. In most apartments, you will need to set up the electricity in your name, while the water and gas are part of or added onto the monthly rent. In a house, you will be responsible for the electric, water and gas bills. They tend to be much simpler to set up than cable and internet becaue they just require a call to set up the account.In Bloomington, you will contact Duke Energy for electricity, Vectren for gas and City of Bloomington Utilities Department for water.

Money saving tips

Utility bills can add up quickly, but there are some things you can do to save money

1. Don’t turn your heater off. It costs more for the furnace to fire up and start heating the place from cold. Instead, keep it set at a low temperature and turn it up when needed. Also, you’ll typically be instructed in the winter to keep your temperature at a minimum to prevent pipes freezing, so you’ll have another reason not to shut it off.

2. Set it and forget it. Speaking of heaters and air conditioners, find a comfortable temperature and leave it. Constantly changing the temperature throughout the day will cause your unit to work harder and end up costing more monthly as well as in wear-and-tear on the unit.

3. Or, just don’t use it. If you can get through some of those months that aren’t freezing or unbearably hot and humid without the heater or AC your wallet will thank you. Blankets, hoodies and fireplaces for the winter and fans in the summer can make all the difference.

4. LEDs. Replacing the lightbulbs in your place with LED bulbs can significantly reduce the power consumption of your lights. LED bulbs use up to 85% less electricity than incandescent bulbs and 40% less than fluorescents.

5. Unplug. While it may be minor, unplugging unused electronics can reduce energy consumption and cut a little off your bill. Using a powerstrip with a switch can make things a little easier than unplugging multiple items in the same area.

6. Conserve. Turn off lights and televisions and don’t needlessly run water. 

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