DeKalb and ComEd: Working together to save money and energy

Editor’s note: The following is a monthly column written by a member of the City of DeKalb’s Citizens’ Environmental Commission, that focuses on increased awareness of issues such as promoting projects and ordinance changes involved in recycling, reducing energy consumption, and planting native habitat.

Everybody loves to save money. And there is a growing awareness of the need to address environmental concerns.

What if you could do both? And what if there are already free tools to accomplish this at your fingertips? The good news is, there are. Your local electrical energy supplier, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), offers numerous ways to help you save money and energy.

Residential and business owners are eligible to receive free onsite or virtual energy assessments from ComEd representatives. This means you can learn what modifications to make to your energy usage to save energy and money. Plus, ComEd employees will even install free and discounted products to replace the inefficient ones in your home or business. Pretty exciting.

But it doesn’t stop there. ComEd has partnered with Nicor Gas to let you know how you can save money on your gas bill, too. Simple changes like installing more efficient light bulbs or turning down your hot water heater temperature by a degree can add up to big savings for the environment and your wallet!

A second way ComEd helps you save energy and money is through their Peak Time Savings summer program. It will pay you for reducing your personal energy usage during time periods in the summer with high anticipated energy demand. And it couldn’t be easier to sign up. Simply go to your account on ComEd’s website and opt in for text alerts prior to the anticipated high energy demand hours. You will get a text notification several hours in advance on the given day letting you know the designated block of time. All you have to do is reduce your personal usage for those several hours, and you get a bill credit! I received a notification several days ago alerting me to a four hour period of high demand that afternoon. All I did was increase my air conditioning temperature by one degree and turn off my dehumidifier and radon remediation unit, and I received a credit of almost ten dollars! Simple.

Other suggestions to reduce consumption include refraining from using unnecessary appliances during the designated timeframe, turning off all unnecessary lights and any gaming equipment, and limiting the number of times opening the refrigerator.

In addition to these simple ways to save energy and money, ComEd offers rebates and discounts on energy efficient products and services. You get discounts on the spot in select retail stores, and you can easily apply online for sizeable rebates on qualifying products that you have installed.

And there’s more: Your income level can help you qualify for free upgrades to your home, so you aren’t overpaying for your energy needs--great for our environment and more money stays in your pocket.

Visit ComEd’s website at for details on these and many more ways to save energy and money. Quarterly home energy reports will let you know how you’re doing and even show you how your energy usage compares to your neighbors. We’re all in this together, so let’s see how much energy and money we can save.

Rachel Farrell

CEC member