Tracy Sorochan’s utility bills continue to rise.
He and six others shared a five-bedroom duplex in northwest Edmonton, and for a year and a half, they paid about $ 550 a month for utilities, mostly electricity and natural gas.
Their account rose to $ 647 in November and $ 720 in December.
“We were able to do everything well, no problem, but now that extra $ 200 means we need to cut back on food,” he told the News on Thursday.
“It’s very difficult because a few of us got our jobs back after we were fired.”
Like Sorochan, many Albertans are struggling with rising tariffs and charges for natural gas and electricity.
“Unfortunately, this is a bit of a perfect storm for the people of Alberta,” said Joel MacDonald, founder of the energy comparison website energyrates.ca.
According to him, the growth rate is caused by many factors, including the sharp cold of the current winter.
“As oil and gas prices fell, many companies closed down and moved away from the industry,” he said.
Oil prices have risen again and demand has also risen.
The increase in carbon taxes also affected natural gas prices.
Some of these things are not under the control of Albertans, but there are ways to reduce the price of bills.
Replacement of contracts
Competitive retailers offer both floating and fixed rates. A few years ago, consumers who opted for floating rates benefited from lower prices, McDonald said, but now Albertans is entering a period of price uncertainty.
As demand for the power grid grows and there are supply restrictions on the transition from coal to natural gas, he said, consumers who are worried about rising prices are floating. they should consider switching from a contract to fixed tariffs.
“In the long run, fixed rates are cheaper than floating rates,” he said.
It used to be difficult to get out of an electricity contract, but all major retailers have the right to a 30-day free exit on their contracts, he added.
“If someone has a cheaper price in six months, just sign up for a new product.”
Program the thermostat
“One of the best ways to reduce your consumption is to think about how to reduce the amount of energy lost in your home through heating,” said Yasmin Abraham, co-founder of Empower Me, an energy and education social enterprise.
He suggests programming the thermostat to reduce the heat at night or when people are out of the house.
Insulate and fasten
Tera Born with Grande Prairie’s Illuminate Energy Inc. offers home energy audits, advises homeowners to insulate and seal their tents.
“It’s one of the best ways to keep the temperature and warmth in your home,” he said.
If the insulation works like a sweater, he says, the seal works like a Gore-Tex jacket and helps keep the house warm.
Transition to solar energy
According to Adam Yereniuk, chief operating officer of Kuby Renewable Energy, solar panels have become 90 percent cheaper over the past decade.
Not everyone can cover their initial expenses, he said, but they can be a good long-term investment for people who plan to stay in the same house for at least 10-15 years, he said.
“The average system will probably pay for itself in less than half or less of the warranty period,” he said.
As with other home energy repairs, federal and municipal grants can help cover costs.
Replace lights, appliances
Upgrading incandescent lights to LED lights is much cheaper than buying new windows or adding solar panels to a home, which is why Yereniuk calls them the “low fruit” of energy efficiency.
He also suggests avoiding turning on the oven to heat small items.
“You can get a small toaster oven that saves a lot of electricity,” he said.