New FPL/Harris Interactive study finds pets can increase energy bills

Do you leave the lights 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.

FPL’s September 2013 survey of more than 1,500 Florida adults revealed that 58% of Floridians own a dog, cat or bird. Of those, about 86% report they leave certain electronic items on for their pets, while they are not home.

The most common items left on for pets are air conditioning (73%), ceiling fans (38%), lights (27%), the television (17%) and the radio (9%)

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

47% of Florida adults consider being comfortable the most important, followed by saving money (44%). Only 9% consider saving energy to be most important.

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

“FPL is committed to helping customers understand what can make their bills go up and down, and offer energy-saving tools to help them make informed energy choices,” said Marlene Santos, vice president of customer service at FPL. “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 that can help change the current way they use energy and save up to $250 a year in energy costs, without impacting their pets.

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