No one should have to turn down their thermostat.

Posted January 10, 2017

By Jason Bohrer – President & CEO of the Lignite Energy Council

When winter temperatures plummet, local news stations, utilities and friends on social media will often post helpful tips about keeping your heating bills down. They range from weatherproofing windows to swapping out incandescent lights for newer, more efficient bulbs. These suggestions are great reminders to not needlessly waste money by sending the heat out leaky windows or heating empty houses.

However, one suggestion is unique—the suggestion to turn down the thermostat. That suggestion is different because it directly impacts how people feel about living in their own homes. The best suggestions of this type are informative—telling people how much more energy it takes to raise the temperature in a room from 71 to 72 vs. 68 to 69, or how to best program your high-tech thermostat to make your dollar stretch the farthest. The more information people have about how they use electricity, the better off they will be as they power their lives. It’s why we have started giving out Kill-A-Watt devices and a Nest thermostat—to provide the data people need to make informed choices.

Each winter when I see thermostat related material, I also reflect upon the mission of the Lignite Energy Council to support policies to keep electricity prices low. Electricity prices should be low enough that every household can be as comfortable as they want—but consumers should have all the data they need to learn how to reduce electricity consumption as much as possible, thereby saving money each month. There is a huge difference between a healthy, single, rarely-home person choosing to turn their thermostat to 66, having done the research knowing that this will save them $25 a month, and a low income family with small children turning their thermostat to 66 because they simply can’t spare an extra $25 a month, and watching their children shiver.

Its why we are so concerned about the Clean Power Plan—it moves more people into the category of, “I have to turn down my thermostat,” with its increase in electricity prices. It’s why we are so committed to breakthrough technologies that will keep prices low. And it inspired our latest poll where we ask what temperature people keep their thermostats set at. Stay tuned for the results, and share the poll with your friends!