There are many ways to save on electricity; here are a few to get you started. Number one would be to take the trouble to find out if you qualify for any kind of subsidized service. Simply look on your bill for the customer service number and call them up to ask. Soon after my husband left me a friend of mine suggested this to me, frankly I never realized how low my income could go after he left. There may be a simple form to fill out, it's worth looking into.
The most obvious way to save money is to use less. Unplug appliances when you are not using them. Especially items that have a digital clock. You probably don't need every appliance to have its own clock if you are using the clock on your over or range. So the clock on the microwave, toaster over, coffee maker, et cetera are just draining you for no reason. If you must have a clock, get one with batteries for the wall, or a wind up clock. These will stand you in good stead if there is a blackout. Try to combine as many needs as possible into one object. For example, I no longer wear a watch, because my smart phone is my clock, my alarm clock, my datebook, my flashlight as well as my camera, my photo album and my phone.
In the spirit of using less, turn off lights when you are no longer in the room. If your kids are notorious about leaving lights on in the bathroom, install an "auto" switch. It turns on due to motion and turns itself off after a set amount of time. Set the lights outside your house on motion detectors so that they will turn on only as you are walking toward the house. Put the automatic turn off to the shortest setting. You can also get low to the ground lights to light a walkway, that a solar powered.
In lieu of using an electric drier, buy a drying rack. Light wooden ones can be folded away and stored when not in use. You can set them up inside your house if you do not have any place to hang your clothes up outside. If you don't have too much room, you can even string clothes lines above your tub. Clothes actually last longer when not subjected to the high heat of a dryer, and delicates don't need to go in a dryer ever. Here is a trick I learned from my Japanese relatives, that will actually add to family togetherness. Instead of having everyone disappear to their personal bedroom, hang out together in a common area. Then you only have to light up one room, heat one room, and you'll see each other more often.
Another way to use less electricity is to get rid of the TV. Studies show that the average kid is watching seven hours a day! ! IF you are over 40 years old, you will probably have to admit your kids are watching more TV than you every did. The TV entertainment available is also raunchier and more vulgar than anything that was broadcast in the 1970's. Don't give me the story on "good TV," because honestly, you can get anything â even the whole season of "Lost" on Netflix now. Watch stuff commercial free on your DVD or consolidate and watch them on your computer. You won't even need to OWN a TV any more.
Exchange your light bulbs for the ones that use less energy. The squiggly looking ones give off a lesser light, if it really bothers you, you can at least switch out 70 watts for 40 watt bulbs. If you don't have small children or rambunctious animals consider using oil lamps or candles. The ambiance is wonderful. Scented candles are especially romantic and lovely. A well designed oil lamp will give off easily as much light as an electric reading lamp. You may also want to consider, if you can, going to bed earlier when the sun sets earlier and later when the summer days stretch. It is much more natural to your body. People were living that way for hundreds of years, and have only started to snowball their stress, living against nature in the last 50 or so.
Buy gas appliances instead of electric ones. A gas stove is wonderful to cook on. If there is a black out, at least you can still light a burner with a match. There also are gas clothes washers and driers available. Easier to use than matches are the long handled lighters you can get at any grocery store. Some are disposable. The ones you can refill usually work better and last longer. Consider buying trees for shade in lieu of running an air conditioner all the time, having open screened windows and perhaps some large fans. Buy energy star, energy efficient refrigerators and freezers. A freezer works more efficiently if it's full, so fill empty water or milk containers with water and freeze them to fill up your freezer.
Eat mindfully, and in season. In the summer a lot of fresh fruit is in season, if you eat it raw you aren't running as many appliances in the heat. You can also eat salad and nuts and cold items like sandwiches. In the winter when it's cold, make batches of soup. You can freeze soup easily and reheat in a microwave with less overall use of the kitchen than cooking every night. Even things like oatmeal can be made in batches. Volume cooking saves time as well as energy. You can devote one evening to making food for the whole week. IF you are cooking a casserole anyway, stick potatoes and other items into the oven to bake at the same time, wrap them up and eat them later.
Get out more. If you aren't home, you won't be using the appliances or heating or air conditioning. Get a dog and take it on long walks. Join clubs, take classes, visit with your long lost friends and family. They love you, and you aren't getting any younger.