Opinion: New Year Resolutions you can keep

By Charlotte Lane

Chairman of the West Virginia Public Service Commission

I don’t believe that 2020 will make my list of favorite years.  I’ll bet most of you feel the same.  So it’s only natural that we want to embrace the promise of a fresh start in 2021.  New Year’s resolutions are a long standing tradition.  So is breaking them.

Charlotte R. Lane

We’ve all made well-meaning resolutions that last a short while, then fall by the wayside.  We plan to eat healthy food, exercise more or save money.  But by Valentine’s Day, we’re eating burgers and fries for lunch.  Maybe we saved a little money when we quit paying dues to the gym we joined but never used.

As Chairman of the Public Service Commission, I can’t help you stay on your diet or your exercise plan, but I do have some ideas to help you save money on your utility bills.  If you can save a little bit every month, it will add up by the end of the year.  And your budget will thank you in the meantime.  These suggestions don’t require a lot of time or effort.  Just a little tweak here and there can make a difference.

Water and power are best suited to finding savings.  The first thing to do is explore your home for leaks.  Even the tiniest leak will add up on your monthly water bill.  Stop the leak and watch your bill shrink.  Look for leaks wherever water comes into or goes out of your home.  Check hidden spots such as the water heater and ice maker.  Another quick and easy way to save water is to shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn off the tap while you brush your teeth or shave.  If every person in your home saves seven or eight gallons a day, your water and sewer bills will show the difference.

Saving on your electric bill starts with dropping your thermostat by a couple of degrees.  Think of it as an opportunity to enjoy your festive Christmas sweater a little longer.  Pay attention to simple solutions.  Turn off the light when you leave a room.  Power down the TV and other electronics and unplug chargers when you aren’t using them.  Get the whole family involved by making a game of who is best at saving electricity – or who gets caught slipping up.

I wish you much happiness – and utility savings – in the New Year.

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