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Manage Your Electric Bill Even With New Electronic Gadgets

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If your family members received electronic gadgets as gifts during the holidays last year, you could soon see a higher electric bill. If your family members received electronic gadgets as gifts during the holidays last year, you could soon see a higher electric bill.

PORTLAND, OR - If your family members received electronic gadgets as gifts during the holidays last year, you could soon see a higher electric bill. 

Pacific Power says nationwide, about 17 million new smart phones, tablets, and other gadgets were activated Christmas Day.

Now, those units and the other 200 million high tech devices purchased throughout 2013, are plugged in and drawing electricity, all at the same time that cold nights and mornings are pushing you to turn your thermostat up a notch. 

"It is true that new electronics, whether they are dishwashers, smart phones or video games, are more energy efficient," said Karen Gilmore, Pacific Power's vice president of customer service. "But the simple fact is we all have more of them than ever before. Combined with colder temperatures, this means you may want to take some simple steps to harness your power use before you get a surprise in your bill you would rather not have. As part of our dedication to helping you, Pacific Power wants to give you some tips that will let you enjoy your gadgets, stay warm and manage your power bill, too." 

Here are a few techniques the power company says can help cut down on your energy usage.

* "Unplug the thug" - Unplug chargers when not in use. They continue to draw energy while they are plugged in. 

* Shut off computers - Some computers and other electronics continue to use energy even when they're in sleep mode. Plug computers, TVs and video game systems into a power strip that can be easily turned off when the equipment is not in use. 

* Adjust TV settings - Consider dimming the display on your TV to reduce brightness and contrast. Settings used for the retail showroom like "vivid" or "dynamic" typically use more energy. 

* Improve your home's heating and cooling systems by cleaning or replacing furnace filters and scheduling routine system maintenance to help air flow through the system more efficiently. 

* Set your thermostat as low as comfortable; aim for 68 degrees. When you are asleep or out of the house, lower the temperature by another 10 degrees and this will reduce your energy usage by about 10 percent.

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