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Alliant Energy News March 2012  - Electric

Volume 16, Issue 3


Young FamilyA winning combination

Three ways to save time

Good things can come in threes. That's the case when you sign up for three of our free payment programs. Put them to work for you and find some much needed free time!

Start by enrolling in online account management. In a few easy steps you'll have 24/7 access to your account. During the enrollment process, sign up for the three payment options that will cut your bill paying time down to nothing.

  1. Cut the clutter with Paperless Billing. We'll email you when your bill is ready to view online. No more paper bills cluttering your mailbox.
  2. Make the same payment every month with Budget Billing. Your payments are averaged to spread heating and cooling costs across the entire year.
  3. Never forget to make a payment with Automatic Payment. Your payment is automatically withdrawn from your bank account each month.

You'll save the most time if you combine all three programs. No more wasting time searching for your paper bill, writing a check and finding a stamp. You will know the amount you'll pay each month, and it's done automatically. Try it out and enjoy the new free time!


appliance shoppingWhat's so special about ENERGY STAR?

How to spot a star performer ...

You've probably seen the familiar blue ENERGY STAR® label on appliances and electronics, but what exactly does it mean and why is it important?

If you remember nothing else, remember this: the little blue star label equals lower electricity bills. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only awards the ENERGY STAR to the most energy-efficient appliances and electronics in their class. They usually exceed the minimum federal energy use standards by a substantial amount.

Curious to see which appliances and electronics have earned the ENERGY STAR before you start shopping? Visit energystar.org to find out. You'll notice that the blue ENERGY STAR label will also be featured prominently on the product itself, as well as on the packaging.

It pays to seek out products that have earned the ENERGY STAR label, because these products will save you money every month on your energy bill. Plus, ENERGY STAR products sometimes qualify for rebates from your energy company. That's why Alliant Energy recommends that you check alliantenergy.com/rebates before purchasing anything that plugs into your wall.

How do appliances and electronics earn the ENERGY STAR?

Energy Star logoThe EPA awards the ENERGY STAR to appliances and electronics that meet specific energy efficiency requirements. The product must contribute significant energy savings. Plus, ENERGY STAR qualified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency. If the product costs more than less-efficient options, you must be able to recover the extra cost through utility bill savings within a reasonable period of time.

As efficiency standards change and technology evolves, the EPA revises its ENERGY STAR qualifications. For example, when 50 percent or more of the products in a specific category (like refrigerators) start earning the ENERGY STAR, the EPA usually looks to increase the qualification standards.


Smart StripBon voyage, energy waste!

Are you going somewhere for spring break this year? While it may not make sense to take your cooktop to Cancun, it's a good idea to give your big energy users a vacation by unplugging them before you leave.

Taking time to unplug things (like your computers, phone chargers, toasters, coffee makers, and cable boxes) saves you money - and it's more than you might think. These items often draw electricity even when they are not turned on. And considering that phantom energy loss accounts for five to 10 percent of your energy bill (source: Science News), your savings could really add up.

Savings aside, unplugging and plugging in items over and over can be a pain. So here's a tip to make it easy: plug known energy hogs (often the items in your entertainment center and home office, like your cable TV box, satellite TV box, DVD player, TV, receiver and computer) into a smart power strip. These devices detect when you are not using your electronics and automatically cuts off power. These power strips also have several "always on" slots for those devices that need to stay powered on to function properly, such as a DVR.

Curious which of your appliances and electronics are energy hogs? Alliant Energy's Powering Your Plug-Ins tells you how much it costs each month to run many common household devices.


CFLBecome enlightened

If you've been in the light bulb aisle lately, you've probably noticed that it has become a bit overwhelming. What used to be a decision between a 75 watt bulb and a 60 watt bulb is also now a choice between incandescent, halogen, compact fluorescent and LED. Here are some tips to make your next light bulb shopping experience a little less confusing.

Choose CFL or LED bulbs. You may see the words "energy efficient" on incandescent and halogen bulbs, but don't be fooled. Even at their highest efficiency, incandescents and halogens are not even close to the efficiency offered by CFLs and LEDs. As a rule, CFLs use about 75 percent less energy and LED bulbs use about 85 percent less energy than an incandescent.

Shop for lumens, not watts. With lighting, lumens are more accurate, since they indicate how much light is shed. The new energy-efficient bulbs use fewer watts to create the same amount of light, so shopping for watts no longer works. It may be helpful to reference the chart below before shopping:


Don't be alarmed if some higher-wattage incandescent bulbs (like 100 watt bulbs) soon become difficult to find. Some light bulbs may no longer be manufactured if they don't meet specific energy-efficiency standards. Simply choose a CFL or LED bulb with comparable lumens to replace your old incandescent bulb. Smaller wattage incandescent bulbs (like the 40 watt bulb in your range hood and the 60 watt bulb in your bedside table) will continue to be manufactured until at least January 1, 2014.

Still confused? Look for the lighting facts label. This new label, which looks a little like a food nutrition label, gives you all the information you need to make an informed light bulb purchasing decision.

If you need another reason to make the switch to CFL and LED light bulbs, remember this: many qualify for energy-efficiency rebates. See what lighting rebates are available to you, or call 1-866-ALLIANT (866-255-4268).


Customer ServiceKeeping current

Overwhelmed by winter heating bills? If you've been relying on the winter moratorium to prevent disconnection - or have been putting off paying your bill, prepare before time runs out. Your best defense against being disconnected is working with us on payment options and payment arrangements.

Good reasons to avoid disconnection:

  • If we must disconnect your service, we cannot guarantee same-day re-connection.
  • If your service has been disconnected for non-payment, you will be charged an additional fee for re-connection.

If you receive a disconnection notice, please call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268) right away to discuss a payment plan and to learn about our payment options. You might be surprised at how easy it is. We are willing to work with you.

Visit out Customer Service section to learn more about payment arrangements and avoiding disconnection. Learn about our instant payment options, free programs to manage your bill and more.

Call us

For customer service, call 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268).

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