Joey Affronti is a dad of three. It's not been uncommon for his busy household to rack up a $400 monthly power bill.
"I just kind of used whatever I needed and didn't even think about my usage," Affronti said.
Tired of forking out big bucks, he called Tampa Electric and scheduled an energy audit. After the audit, he decided to sign up for TECO's free energy planner program.
"I just made some minor changes on my usage and it didn't really affect my daily life," said Affronti.
Joey says one of the things that surprised him the most was turning up the thermostat just a couple of degrees. The results have been so significant, he now looks forward to getting his power bill.
"I get excited to see how low it is," said Affronti.
His bill's been slashed in half most months. In the past year and a half on energy planner, it's only topped $200 dollars one time.
"That's crazy! That's a lot of money," Affronti said.
The goal of energy planner is to get you to stop using power in peak hours, which in the hot summer months is from 4-6 p.m. As an incentive for signing up, TECO gives you a cheaper rate.
"We're buying and making as much power as we can between those hours. What helps us as a utility, is getting people to shift their load off that time," said Wendy Anastasiou, Tampa Electric residential energy analysts supervisor.
To get started, TECO checks out your home. Small devices are installed on your AC, water heater, and internet modem. One can go on the pool pump if you've got one, too. And you get a free programmable thermostat. The devices all talk to each other to help you save..
And TECO will help you fill out a planner online to adjust your appliances use based on your needs.
"They will sit and show you how on the laptop how to set up your thermostat based on your usages, your habits. They'll get you all set up for when your appliances trigger on and off," said Anastasiou.
Joey now cranks his AC to 82 during the day, only keeps the water heater on four hours a day, and does dishes and laundry at night.
"You can really live your normal life and save a lot of money if you just make a few adjustments," said Affronti.
To learn more about the program, or to sign up, head to TECO's website.