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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ohio Utility's Energy Calculator: PC's Use $11 Annually

AKRON (TDB) -- FirstEnergy Corp. has a handy new interactive tool that can help its 4.5-million Ohio customers figure out how much money they are spending on natural gas and electricity. Who knew that a home computer uses about $11 worth of electricity a year? A TV -- near $34. That's what the calculator came up with for The Daily Bellwether, which is served by Duke Power in SW Ohio but tried out the Akron-based utility's tool as an experiment.

Hint: Try a NEO Zip Code if you are not in FirstEnergy's service area. No doubt the results would be more precise for one of its customers. (As for home computers, the calculator doesn't differentiate between Apple and PC. Does that matter?)

The utility's CALCULATOR takes a few minutes to use. And the information can become extremely detailed in data from past bills is entered. But the results are enlightening, to say the least. The amount of money spent heating hot water is eye-popping. And it won't really help to run down to Home Depot and buy an insulating jacket. That shaves a mere $2 to $3 off the bill. Each refrigerator seems to gobble up nearly $200 worth of power a year.

FirstEnergy said the calculator allows customers to create a profile of their current home, and then see spots where they could cut consumption or improve efficiency. "This is a great tool for customers who want to make better informed energy choices," said Thomas A. Clark, the company's vice president of consumer consumer services.

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