What About Universal Electric Timers?

RECEIVED Sat., April 26, 2008

Dear Editor,
    In January, I accidentally overlooked paying my Austin utilities bill and in February received one for $434 (average $217 per month).
    As I am extremely mindful of conserving energy, I called Austin Energy, enraged. An unidentified agent there told me, "Nothing will raise your bill quicker than your water heater.”
    Determined to correct this, I went to Lowe's in search of their most superefficient water heater, only to have a young man tell me: "Don't waste the money. Just put an electric timer ($59) on the one you have now."
    I decided to take the gamble and paid an electrician $75 to install the unit, for a total investment of $134. I set it to turn on at 4am and turn off at 6am, daily.
    My March bill plummeted to $80.25. I was astounded.
    Why wouldn't timers be a mandatory inclusion on water heaters? My investment ($134) nearly paid for itself the first month, saving me about $120. This one action could become one of the greenest things we do.
    It is inconceivable to consider how much $120 times one million Austinites would come to, but it'd be a bunch for sure.
    Hope someone in authority who can investigate this further will read this and take action. My unit was installed next to my breaker box so that I could open and reset the on/off times until I got it perfect.
Jim Lacey
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