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Energy Savings Beyond Belief

 Energy Savings Beyond Belief

A quick search of the internet reveals many great ways to save energy around your home. Simple things such as adding insulation or using energy-efficient lightbulbs are easy and relatively inexpensive. The same search will also reveal “amazing” products that claim to cut up to a third of your energy bill—without you changing anything about your energy habits.

Claims like these sound too good to be true, and there’s good reason for that—they almost always turn out to be exaggerations or outright lies.

One popular scam involves a little box that promises to save you energy, “condition” your power and make appliances last longer. The people who sell these boxes often claim outrageous energy savings and use terms including power conditioning, capacitors and power factor. The sales materials often claim that your utility doesn’t want you to know about the device. That’s actually true—because it’s a rip-off.

There are several questions you should ask a salesperson (or yourself!) when reading an ad for the next magical cure-all:

1. Is it too good to be true? Trust your instincts, and if the product overpromises, it’s likely a waste of money.

2. Does it violate the laws of science? Some products claim that they are capable of “changing the molecular structure … to release never-before tapped power.” Changing scientific principles is no easy task. If the inventors truly can do this, they won’t be mailing flyers or operating from a poorly designed website.

3. Was the product tested by an independent group like a national lab or university? If not, be skeptical. Scammers have been known to lie about the tests.

Sometimes energy scammers contact consumers directly, either by calling or stopping by and claiming they represent your local electric co-op. Never give personal or financial information to someone who claims to be an employee of the co-op without confirming their identity. If they call, ask for a callback number, then verify their identity with your cooperative. If they stop by, ask the person for a valid employee ID.

The key is to be skeptical and ask questions. Asking tough questions will not offend honest people. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.