Is your pet making your energy bill go up? New FPL/ Harris Interactive study finds majority of Florida pet owners leave household electric items on for their pets when they're not home

JUNO BEACH, Fla., Oct. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Do you leave the lights, fan or television on for your pet when you're not at home? If so, you're not alone. Florida Power & Light (FPL) Company has unveiled new information that suggests Fido and Fifi may be the culprits in higher energy bills. 

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A September 2013 survey of more than 1,500 Florida adults, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of FPL, revealed that more than half of Floridians (58 percent) own a dog, cat or bird. Of those, about seven out of every eight people (86 percent) report that they leave certain electronic items on for their pet(s) while they are not at home.

"Pets are like family and knowing that your pet is safe and comfortable while you are away is clearly important to our customers," said Marlene Santos, vice president of customer service at FPL. "Ideally, we'd like to help our customers find the best balance of pet comfort and savings."

According to the survey, the most common items left on for pets are:

  • Air conditioning (73 percent)
  • Ceiling fan (38 percent)
  • Lights (27 percent)
  • Television (17 percent)
  • Radio (9 percent)

Ceiling fans left on all the time can account for up to $7 a month spent on FPL bills to keep pets comfortable.

"In order to save on energy, it is ok for pet owners to raise their thermostats up a bit while they are not home. Animals should not have any problems at an ambient temperature between 78-82 degrees," said Dr. Ted Sanchez, D.V.M., veterinarian and owner of the Silver Bluff Animal Clinic located in Miami.

FPL released the results of the statewide study as a way to mark October's Energy Awareness Month and inform FPL customers about the different energy-saving programs that are available to them.

When asked to choose, nearly half of Florida adults – consider being comfortable (47 percent) to be most important to them, followed by saving money (44 percent). Only 9 percent consider saving energy to be most important to them. 

"FPL is committed to helping customers understand what can make their bills go up and down, and offering energy-saving tools to help them make more informed energy choices," said Santos. "We are all for keeping pets happy and healthy," she said. "FPL is even featuring pets as the home energy experts in our new Pet Project advertising campaign."

As a first step, Santos recommends customers take the Online Home Energy Survey to receive a personalized energy savings plan with expert tips and recommendations that can help them change the current way they use energy and save up to $250 a year in energy costs, without impacting their pets.

FPL's Energy Dashboard is another online tool that helps customers become more aware of their own energy use patterns. It allows customers to see how much energy they're using by the month, day or hour. "Information is power. FPL's Energy Dashboard can help you see where the spikes in energy use are," said Santos.

OTHER SURVEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:

  • A/C and Ceiling Fans – Florida residents who have central air conditioning report that, on average, they use it 18.1 hours per day. Those who own a ceiling fan claim an average use of 11.3 hours per day, while those with a portable fan estimate an average use of 4.6 hours per day. Likewise, those with an air conditioner installed in a window or through the wall report that they use it an average of 4.1 hours per day.
  • Thermostat Temps – Fifty-nine percent of Florida adults keep the temperature on their thermostat low. Reasons for doing this include: so they can put on heavy blankets (18 percent), so they can snuggle close with their loved one (16 percent), to avoid arguments with their spouse (15 percent), to keep their pets comfortable (13 percent) and "other" (20 percent).
  • Changing A/C Filter – Only 34 percent of Floridians with air conditioning change the unit's filter once a month or more, the recommended frequency for maximum efficiency.
    • 45 percent change it every 2-6 months
    • 7 percent change it every 7-12 months
    • 1 percent change it less than once a year
    • 2 percent never change the filter in their air conditioner
    • 10 percent don't have a set schedule or change it when they remember  

SURVEY METHODOLOGY
This Florida Energy Use survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of rbb Public Relations Sept.12-20, 2013, among 1,586 residents of Florida aged 18 or older. Oversamples were also obtained of the following counties: Brevard, Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Sarasota and Volusia. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please visit http://newsroom.fpl.com/energysurvey.

Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest rate-regulated electric utility in Florida and serves the third-largest number of customers of any electric utility in the United States. FPL serves approximately 4.6 million customer accounts and is a leading Florida employer with approximately 10,000 employees as of year-end 2012. During the five-year period ended December 31, 2012, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities. As of year-end 2012, its typical residential customer bills are the lowest in Florida, and based on data available in July 2012, are about 26 percent below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.fpl.com.

Harris Interactive 
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

 

 

SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company



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