As your current bulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LED bulbs. Personally – I don't like the light from CFL's, so I'm trying to buy LED's as my current light bulbs die… and they're MUCH cheaper than they used to be! Check out this 6-pack on Amazon! And it's nice to know I can go another decade or so before I have to replace them again.
Programmable thermostats are great, but are useless if someone is home all day. The main point is to set the temperature at an energy-saving setting when noone is home; however, the author is home all day so I can see her point. Also, we installed a programmable thermostat. I do love it and all the settings, but it is currently useless to us since one of us is home all day long; there’s no reason to program it right now.
You could knock hundreds of dollars off your bill over the course of a year if you stick to the conditions of the discount. Most energy companies will provide some kind of discount for things like paying your bills on time, by direct debit, or for receiving communications via email. However, make sure you understand the details of any discounts, including whether it is a discount off your entire bill, or just usage or supply charges.
My experience is similar in the PNW- we get maybe a couple months of 80 degree weather, and usually one week of mid-upper nineties, that’s it. If I can get my family to deal with that one week a year, we make it through without even installing the window air conditioners for the year. 80 degrees is not be ideal, but it is doable. Its also nice, after sweating the whole afternoon, to enjoy a cold beer while watching the sunset outside. It wouldn’t taste as good if we’d spent the whole day in an air conditioned house :) Again – not applicable to Texas (or similar) residents…
Even if you don’t currently use much electricity during off-peak hours, do you have the flexibility to change everyday habits and decrease your electricity use during peak hours? This might seem difficult for homeowners who leave the house everyday for work and return in the evening when electricity rates will be higher, but there are still steps you can take to save money using time-of-use. For example, many appliances – including dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers – have scheduling functions so that you can set the time for them to run ahead of time. If you own an electric car, you can plan to charge it at night during off-peak hours.