Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Save Money on Heating Water

How to Save Money on Heating Water

            Did you know that after heating and cooling, water heating is the second largest cost on the average family’s utility bill, accounting for around 12 percent?

            One way to reduce costs is to run out and buy the most energy-efficient water heater on the market. Government regulations require manufacturers to affix labels showing operating costs and power consumption.

For most people, however, that’s not practical. The reality is that people buy water heaters only when absolutely necessary and most of these buying decisions are based almost exclusively on price.

            Short of shelling out big bucks for a top-of-the-line water heater, there are things you can do now to reduce your energy bills, whether you heat water with electricity or gas. Most of them are common sense measures, but worth considering.

Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees or less – a 10 degree (F) reduction in water heater setting can cut 3% - 5% from your bill.

Take short showers instead of baths – it takes a lot of water to fill a bathtub, especially jetted soaking tubs and huge claw-foot tubs.

Insulate you water heater – an insulating blanket helps retain heat, thereby reducing energy consumption. Blankets are made for both gas and electric heaters of various sizes. Be sure to check the “R” rating for maximum benefit.

Laundry – Follow laundering instructions on clothing. Set your washer to use cold water on rinse cycles. Also, many of the newer high-efficiency detergents do a great job with cold water.

Washing dishes – Using a dishwasher consumes less water than washing dishes by hand, especially when you leave the faucet running, and a variety of cycles can save hot water, too. Make sure the dishwasher is full before running it.

Low-flow fixtures – Installing low-flow faucets and showerheads is an obvious and relatively inexpensive way of saving hot water and water in general. Low-flow fixtures can cut water consumption in half and most people don’t notice the reduction because of a more forceful flow.

Check the U.S. Department of Energy’s website,, for additional money and power-saving tips.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Benefits of Energy Deregulation

The Benefits of Energy Deregulation

As regulators and electricity suppliers continue to sort out the nuances of deregulation, market forces and climate change combine to make one thing abundantly clear: The idea of a “normal” calendar season is no longer operative. Summer heat waves are longer and more frequent than ever and the last two winters were brutally cold.

So, with summer cooling bills upon us and jitters over what next winter's heating bills might look like, this seems to be a good time to consider the benefits of energy choice and compare traditional utilities with competitive energy suppliers.

Although the infamous polar vortex of 2014 and its high energy costs did not make a repeat appearance last winter, there's no way of knowing what the coming winter will bring.

Before the introduction of energy choice programs, customers had to buy energy from their local utility. The utility set the prices that customers were required to pay. In recent years, however, a number of states have introduced competition for energy supply. In these states, utilities no longer have a monopoly on both energy generation and distribution. Customers in these states may choose to buy from any number of licensed retail energy providers (REPs) or their local utility company.

Just because the energy industry has been “deregulated” does not mean that REPs are “unregulated.” REPs and utility companies are similar in many respects. Both are licensed and regulated by state public utility commissions for service and their relationship with consumers.

So, what's the difference between energy supplied by the utility versus a REP? Unlike utility companies, REPs specialize in procuring energy. REPs rely upon the utilities to deliver that energy. They do not maintain the system of meters, poles, pipes and wires required to deliver it. Customers who choose REPs still have their meters read by their utility, and in most states, receive their bills from their utility. Most important, REPs are not bound by the take-it-or-leave-it rate structure that utilities offer.

The power of choice has enabled REPs to compete for business by offering flexible options that the utilities never could — such as rebate programs, rewards and longer-termed “fixed” or “locked-rate” price programs.

So why did many REPs' prices rise so dramatically in 2014 compared with utilities' prices? The culprit was an unprecedented and unforeseen confluence of weather and market events that caused wholesale energy prices to skyrocket. Unfortunately, faced with those immediate costs, many REPs had no choice but to pass along those sudden price increases without delay. By contrast, sudden cost increases are not readily apparent in utility companies' rate calculations.
Thankfully, many REPs realized quickly that customers could not bear this burden and voluntarily absorbed as much of the cost increases as they could, issuing millions of dollars in good-will rebates to customers.

The path to improvement is not always smooth, and the polar vortex provided a particularly bumpy ride for the retail energy industry. But with the lessons learned and development of smarter and better controls, residential and business energy customers are certain to benefit in the long run.

Michael Stein is CEO of IDT Energy.
Link to Article: TribLive

Friday, May 08, 2015

Cutting Costs & Staying Cool!

 IDT Energy Offers Simple Tips for Cutting

Summertime Energy Bills and Staying Cool

            Nothing beats the first few pleasant days of spring. The migrating birds and their songs are back, trees burst forth with fresh, new leaves and it’s finally possible to sleep comfortably with the windows open. Best of all, that energy-gobbling furnace has been shut off for the season.

            But wait! Can summer’s heat and humidity be far behind?

            Of course not! And that’s why IDT Energy offers the following tips for saving energy and money during the summer. None of this is rocket science, but seemingly small savings can really add up.

First on the list is air-conditioning. Early spring is the best time to get to know a qualified heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technician (HVAC). This is the time of year when it’s easy to schedule a system check-up. An experienced technician can check your system for refrigerant leaks and diagnose potential problems before they occur. Once the cooling season begins, HVAC people are swamped with repair calls. Don’t suffer through extreme heat and humidity waiting for an appointment. There’s one more important thing you can check on your own before calling a technician: make sure your filters are clean and that registers aren’t blocked by carpets, furniture or drapes.

An obvious way to save on cooling is to turn the thermostat up to about 78 degrees during the hours when you’re home and adjust it to 85 when you’re away. However, it’s not a good idea to turn the system off when you’re absent. Remember that every item in your home – furniture, carpeting, draperies, etc. -- absorbs heat. That means when you return to a hot house you need to cool the air along with the contents of the dwelling, which can take a long time.

On that note, a programmable thermostat is a sound investment year round. It takes just a few minutes to set up and it can eliminate the need to remember to adjust your thermostat several times a day.

Have you been meaning to replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents or LED’s? This is a great time to do it because the majority of energy consumed by incandescent bulbs generates heat, while just a small fraction actually produces light. LED bulb prices have come down a bit, but they are still much more expensive than incandescent bulbs. Before rejecting them because of initial cost, be sure to read the fine print – LED’s consume a tiny fraction of the power sucked-up by conventional bulbs and they will last for a very long time.

If you can’t stand the heat, either get out of the kitchen – or change the way you cook in the summer! Remember that microwave ovens use about two-thirds less energy than conventional stoves and ovens. A task as simple as boiling water for tea or coffee can be accomplished more quickly and cheaply by using the microwave. Finally, fire up the grill more often. Fish, meats and vegetables seem to taste better and are more fun to cook outside on a charcoal or gas grill.

We will offer additional energy and money-saving tips in coming months, but if you have a great tip to share with us and our readers, please send it to:

The best suggestions we get will appear in a future post. If we use your suggestion, we’ll send you a $5 gift card from The Home Depot.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

April 22 is a day on our calendar that has been set to raise awareness about the health and well-being of our Mother Nature and the efforts to protect it. Today, millions of people all over the world are leading and participating in Earth Day events to commemorate what is considered to be the birth of the modern environmental movement. We are pleased to offer a choice of green electricity supply as an option that is100% matched with renewable energy certificates and renewable energy attributes, generated from sources like running water, wind, solar and biomass. By enrolling in an electricity plan like this, you can do a small part in reducing the carbon foot print. Plus, renewable electricity is purchased from domestic resources here in the United States. For more information or to enroll your electricity meter, please visit

For more fun Earth Day images and activities, check out IDT Energy's Pinterest!

Monday, April 13, 2015

ComEd's Electric Supply Rate Increases - Lock in IDT Energy's lower rate!


ComEd costumers in Illinois, April is here and ComEd's electric supply rate has increased to $.0872/kWh.  IDT Energy offers a SmartBudget plan, with a rate of only $.0699/kWh.  Lock in this rate for the next 12 months and to avoid fluctuating electricity prices.

IDT Energy’s SmartBudget plan is unique from other energy supplier's fixed rate plans because there are no termination fees! Your electric supply rate will stay the same for 12 months with NO termination fees, ZERO surprises, rate spikes, or hidden fees/deposits.

Plus as an IDT Energy customer you can register to earn rewards like gift cards, electronics and so much more. Take advantage of our Home Services and receive discounts on home warranties, home security and electronics protection.

Monday, February 23, 2015

NY Prize Awards Development of Community Microgrids

Governor Andrew Cuomo, May 26, 2014. Credit: Diana Robinson
Ever since Hurricane Sandy wreaked its deadly wrath on the Northeast, and especially in New York, state officials have shown a heightened interest in the idea of community microgrids. New York State recently announced a program, known as the NY Prize, to award community microgrids $40 million for developing plans that will reduce energy costs, improve the reliability of electric power, heighten consumer choice and increase energy efficiency.

Several other states have already begun to give a leg up to the infant microgrid industry, including California, Connecticut and New Jersey. In New York the emphasis is on complex, community microgrids.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo first announced the intention to create NY Prize a year ago, in January 2014. New York’s overriding interest is to have community microgrids which will keep the power turned on even during severe storms. Superstorm Sandy was the spark, and continuing bad snowstorms have kept the concept on the table.
“Having a reliable source of power is crucial when extreme weather strikes – and by launching this microgrid competition, we're encouraging the development of more resilient energy networks across the state,” Cuomo said. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

NJ Business - Energy Savings for Small Business

IDT Energy's CEO, Geoffrey Rochwarger, recently spoke with NJ Business Magazine on how small businesses can save money on energy. 

"While the economy in New Jersey has been slowly and steadily improving, energy costs in the state are still among the highest in the nation. However, for small business owners in the state, possible energy cost savings can be just around the corner due to various laws, energy regulations and energy efficiency programs offered by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and state utility and energy companies. "

Read the full article

Friday, January 23, 2015

Read Your Labels to Get the Most from Your Purchases

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a program designed to help consumers understand the environmental impact their purchases have on the environment so they can make intelligent choices. The mission of the EPA is to protect the health and environment of US citizens, and one of the methods they employ is informational labeling. Utilizing the expertise of the EPA to investigate the relative safety of products, this governmental agency is perfectly appointed to put their own “seal of approval” on a variety of products.

“Design for the Environment” labels on consumer products attest to the fact that the EPA has evaluated a product and deemed it safer for consumer use without sacrificing quality or performance standards. A huge variety of consumer products are tested and evaluated, and labeled constantly, including cleaning products, car care products, fire-fighting products, hand soaps, and many other products. The service industry and consumer electronics can also earn the DfE label.

In 2011 the use of harmful chemical by Americans was reduced by 756 million pounds through the use of the DfE label. When consumers choose products with the DfE label they are choosing to contribute to a safer and healthier environment for all Americans.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Reward Yourself This Holiday Season!

December and the holidays is the giving season. IDT Energy wants to remind you of all the great opportunities for our customers and we give back to our favorite people - YOU!

IDT Energy Rewards
IDT Energy customers can register online at today to start earning valuable reward points on every kWh of electricity and therm of natural gas we supply. Then redeem these points for popular retailer gift cards, electronics, appliances, jewelry, sporting goods and so much more! Save them up for next holiday season or treat yourself, but put your energy supply bill to work for you!

IDT Energy Refer-A-Friend
Take advantage of the holiday get togethers and parties to tell your family and friends about IDT Energy, and earn some extra spending money! Every customer that you refer, and stays active with us for 3 billing cycles, we will reward you with $25. If your friend/family signs up with both electric and natural gas supply we'll send you a check for $50. Make this holiday season work for you! Check out the details at

IDT Energy Home Services
Home is where the heart is. We understand the need to make sure your home and everything in it is protected. We are teaming up with the best home protection companies in the business to offer our customers home warranty plans at a discounted price. Find out more at

LifeLock Discount
With all of the recent credit card hacks and trouble with personal security, you are probably concerned. IDT Energy has teamed up with LIfeLock, Inc to provide our customers with a free trial and discount on their services. LifeLock is the leader in identity theft protection. They work relentlessly to protect their members from identity theft so they can live freely with confidence in an always-connected world.  Take advantage today!

Of course our work is not done! Stay tuned as we have some exciting new programs and discounts for our customers coming in 2015!

Saving Energy in the Winter Can be Easier, and Cheaper, Than You Think

New York in Winter:Photo by  GK tramrunner
Of course you would like to save energy and money this winter, but the budget for installing new energy efficient windows or insulating the attic, is just not there. Don’t worry. Here are some free and easy ways to save on your energy bill this winter. Perhaps with the money you save heating your home this winter you can afford the more expensive energy savings ideas for next winter.

1. Let the sun heat your house. When the sun is shining, even during the winter, those powerful rays can warm the inside of your home. Give it a try. Don’t forget to close the drapes when the sun goes down to keep all that nice warm air inside where it belongs.

2. A little smart room design can help save energy. Place the furniture closer to interior walls. Family members will feel much warmer if they are not sitting adjacent to outer walls or drafty windows.

3. Fireplaces can be a real waste of energy. When in use much of the warmed air just goes right up and out the chimney. When not in use be sure to keep the damper completely shut. Before closing the damper make 100 percent certain there are no smoldering embers left. If you do decide to stop using your fireplace entirely, block off the chimney with a bit of rigid insulation which fits tightly into the space. Dampers simply do not completely shut off air leakage.

4. Check around the house for places you can save energy. Are the lights on in empty rooms? Is your spare fridge in the basement not really needed? Then unplug it. After they do their job turn off kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans.

5. Speed up shower time.  Heating water for showers accounts for about 67 percent of your water heating bill. Reducing the amount of water you use in the shower can be a huge money saver.

6. Use appliances in a more efficient way. Don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full. Don’t do a load of wash unless it’s also full. Most laundry can be successfully washed in cold water. Only use the hot water cycle when absolutely necessary. Always take out the lint when loading up the dryer. Use the automatic setting to shut off the dryer when it senses the clothes are dry.