ST AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Sweat beads drip down the side of Edward Mock’s hairline as he kneels at the side of a residential home in St. Augustine assessing an air conditioning compressor. The stifling humidity combined with the sun's rays relentlessly beating down let him know summer is here.
He knows this is the time of year his phone will ring nonstop as Florida Power & Light Company customers call to learn how they can save money when their electric bill peaks for the year due to increased energy usage.
Mock, who served his country for six years in the Navy after high school, has been serving FPL customers as a senior energy solution specialist for thirty years.
“The first question I always get asked is ‘How can I lower my bill,’” said Mock. “I have a feeling this summer will be busier than ever.”
While a customer’s desire to save energy and money hasn’t changed much over the last 30 years, technology has.
Mock no longer needs to bring a level to straighten crooked mercury thermostats. Those have since been replaced by programable, smart thermostats capable of adjusting the temperature of homes and businesses without anyone needing to be there.
“The first thing I do is listen to the customer and address their concerns,” said Mock. “Then, I check their thermostat.”
For every degree you bump up on your thermostat in the summer, Mock said customers can save between 3-5% on cooling costs. He recommends in the summer customers keep their homes at 78 degrees during the day if they want to maximize their savings. He also recommends changing your air filter regularly.
“You can raise the temperature during the day when you’re not home and keep your ceiling fans on if you’re in the room,” said Mock. “At night you can cool it down by a few degrees. This is one of the biggest ways to save.”
The next largest user of electricity is typically the water heater. Mock recommends running full loads of dishes and laundry along with limiting hot shower times.
“A lot of people don’t realize they are using electricity when they take hot showers,” Mock added.
For Floridians with pools, energy experts like Mock recommend running pool pumps four to six hours a day. This can lower your costs to $40 to $45 a month compared to more than $100 a month if it’s left running continuously.
“Even the smallest of things can help you save cents like unplugging electronics when they’re not in use,” said Mock.
By downloading the FPL app and using the Energy Manager feature, customers can learn how much each appliance costs them hour by hour.
“People don’t realize how much they can save until they realize what’s costing them money,” said Mock. “They’re surprised with how detailed the app is.”
Before arriving at a small business or home, Mock and other energy experts make it a point to review customers’ energy dashboards. He said he often spots an issue before stepping into a home or business.
“We go to the meter and look at the dashboard to understand what’s going on,” said Mock. The most common problems we run into causing a customer’s bill to spike are hot water leaks, pool pump timer settings/failures and air conditioning settings/malfunctions.”
As soon as an issue is fixed, Mock watches the usage go down on the customer’s dashboard.
“It’s nice when I get to go home at the end of the day knowing I helped make a difference on a customer’s bill and they thank me for it,” said Mock. “It makes three decades feel easy.”
FPL customers can learn more ways to save energy and money on their bill by visiting https:// fpl.com/takecontrol.