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LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogThe price of electricity seems to be going up every year. Energy usage is a variable cost that the vast majority of Americans are responsible for. The cost of energy can vary by region, time of year, and how the electricity is generated. There are a few ways that homeowners and renters can take charge of their electricity use. We will go over some of the best ways to do so in this article. Reduce Your Total Energy Usage In order to reduce your monthly payments to the energy company, you must reduce your total energy usage. This will ensure that you are less dependent on outside energy if you decide to make the switch to self-generation. A good way to cut your energy use is to install a smart system. This system will help you to monitor your energy use and find out where you are expending the most electricity. A smart system can also self-manage and turn off lights, thermostats, etc. When not being used. Replacing older appliances can also go a long way towards reducing energy use. Many states and even the federal government offer rebates and discounts for people who opt to replace their old, inefficient appliances with more energy efficient versions. The power reductions are nice and many people take advantage of these programs to get an upgraded unit at a subsidized price. Invest in a Solar System Upwards of 80 percent of the United States is currently considered viable for solar power, and that number is growing. The cost of solar panels, installation and maintenance has dropped over the past decade, largely due to consolidation at the top of the market and emerging technologies. Solar panel installation is now as common as a satellite dish or roofing job. A solar system has never been cheaper to install, or more efficient at generating and storing power. The only way to truly take charge of your electricity usage is to become independent of the grid. Solar power allows you to use sunlight to generate power for your home instead of drawing from the grid. In some states you can even send energy back into the grid for a payment or credit towards your next bill. If you want to become truly energy independent solar power is your best bet. The sun showers our planet with massive amounts of energy 24/7, it makes good ecological and financial sense to use that energy to become less dependent on the grid.