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energy_cost_savings(MCT)—The weather is getting cooler, which means it is time to start thinking about saving energy (again!).

The October issue of Consumer Reports features several ways to slice your bills, but these are things most of us are aware of by now, including using LED bulbs, programmable thermostats, energy audits and plugging air leaks. But there are other things you should watch out for.

Did you know the only way you can save money with a Smart Meter is if you are also offered time-of-use rates which let you control costs by running your appliances during off-peak hours?

Here are a few more energy-saving ideas: Get an energy audit, but only from reputable companies. There are companies that charge major fees upfront, promise upgrades, then vanish into the night. Audits cost between $250-$800 depending on the size of your home. Some regions have low- or no-cost programs to do an energy check. Contact your power company or local jurisdiction.

Appliance upgrades are great, but claims can be misleading. Wi-Fi enabled appliances are convenient but won’t save you money unless you have those time-of-use rates mentioned above.

Cover your bases with alternative energy sources.

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