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RESA Recognizes National Electricity Day

After five years of experiments that began in 1747, Benjamin Franklin sought to prove his hypothesis that electricity and lightning were directly connected. On June 15, 1752, he conducted his famous kite experiment during a thunderstorm in Philadelphia, which confirmed that lightning is an electrical discharge.

Although 272 years have passed, one thing remains consistent: our reliance on electricity. Many of us take it for granted, only noticing its absence during power outages caused by severe weather. Electricity is essential to so many aspects of our lives that it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without it. From air conditioning and lighting to electronic door locks, electric vehicles, smartphones, smart appliances, computers, and devices like Alexa and Nest thermostats, the modern conveniences powered by electricity are seemingly endless.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2022, residential consumers used an average of 10,791 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually. This is approximately 899 kilowatt-hours per month or 30 kilowatt-hours per day. Nationwide, American electricity consumption in 2022 was 4 trillion kWh, the highest amount in U.S. history since statistics on household energy usage began being recorded in 1950.

So, what is driving up our electricity consumption? More than half (52%) of U.S. households’ annual energy consumption is used for two things: air conditioning and space heating. These energy uses are mostly seasonal and energy-intensive and vary significantly by geographic location, home size and structure, and the types of equipment and fuels used.

Year-round energy consumption, including water heating, lighting and refrigeration combined, was 25% of the total annual home energy use in 2020. The remaining 23% was accounted for by consumer devices such as televisions, computers, tablets, smartphones, video game consoles, internet streaming devices, and appliances such as cooking, clothes washers and dryers.

In honor of National Electricity Day, the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) offers some suggestions on how consumers can conserve electricity by lessening their usage.

  • Invest in energy-efficient appliances – Choose appliances with the yellow ENERGY STAR® label. They consume less power, which means lower electricity bills and may qualify for rebates, giving you more control over your expenses.
  • Install smart devices in your home – From programable thermostats and smart ovens to monitoring your refrigerator and automating your lights, this not only helps optimize and monitor your energy usage remotely but also makes your life more convenient and comfortable.
  • Add insulation – Making sure your walls, attic and roof are well insulated will help save energy and prevent your HVAC from working harder to keep your home cool in the summer or warm in the winter.
  • Unplug unused devices or electronics– It’s easy to forget that electronics still consume energy while plugged in, even though they may not be in use.
  • Turn off lights – If you leave a room, turn off the light. Or consider opening the shades and using natural light during daylight hours.
  • Run a full load – When you do laundry or run your dishwasher, ensure you run a full load, which will help conserve resources like water and energy. If you have outside space dry your laundry outside. Try to run your dishwasher at night and not during the heat of the day.
  • Adjust your thermostat – When you are not home, set your thermostat to approximately 78 degrees in the summer or 62 degrees in the winter to save energy.
  • Tap into online offers a valuable free tool that can guide you in finding effective ways to reduce your power usage. Estimating the energy your appliances use empowers you to make informed decisions for energy conservation.
  •  Give your oven a rest – Consider enjoying refrigerated items like salads or a sandwich for dinner once a week.
  • Use the sun – Harness the rays of the sun to make sun tea rather than turning on the kettle.
  • Collect rain – Use a rain barrel to collect rain and use it to water your garden or potted plants instead of turning on the hose.

Raising awareness about electricity’s impact on our everyday lives and the benefits it provides is important. This year, in recognition of National Electricity Day, RESA encourages all consumers to prioritize energy conservation and sustainability.