April Fool’s Day Pranks for Your Coworkers

Guess what!? Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, and you know what that means! That’s right, hilarious coworker pranks abound! We’ve got a list here of some awesome pranks that we might consider pulling on our own staff. Maybe (insert shifty eyes here). We definitely recommend that you pull these on someone who has a good sense of humor and likely won’t fire you.

1. Foiled Again — Nothing says “Got ya!” like an entire workstation covered in aluminum foil. Make sure not to wrap anything that is running, like computer towers.

2. Posted: No Parking — Make a colorful statement with someone’s car by covering it in different colored Post-It notes. Get creative and color each individual section. If nothing else, you can say you helped decorate it for Easter!

3. Balloon Pit — Filling an office space with balloons is another classic prank, but even if

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One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Electricity

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is a popular saying that means that something one person might throw away is something that can be useful for a different person. When it comes to electricity, this saying still rings true. Harvest Power, a company based in Waltham, MA, uses trash to power nearly 6,000 homes for a full year. They do this through a process called anaerobic digestion. Harvest Power ‘literally’ harvests power from the discarded refuse of compostable materials.

In addition to producing 65,000 megawatt hours of electricity, Harvest Power also generates 33 million bags of fertilizer that is sold in several area stores. They manage to do all this by using anaerobic digestion on 2 million tons of organic waste. That’s a very small percentage of the 251 million tons of trash created in the US, but it’s certainly a start. The CEO of Harvest Power, Kathleen Ligocki,

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Understanding the Cost of Electricity around the U.S.

Ever wonder how prices differ for electricity between states? It may not be a big difference (unless you move to Hawaii, which pays an average of almost 37 cents per kilowatt hour!), but different parts of the United States pay different rates based on a few factors. The biggest factor is simply location. Fuel sources have to be shipped to states that don’t have them, and that affects the cost of electricity generation. Hawaii, for example, is out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no natural fuel sources like coal, oil, or natural gas. This makes producing electricity there very expensive.

The same is true in Alaska. They have a lot of oil reserves, but no processing, so their prices are also high. Nearly all of New England, as well as New York, New Jersey, and California fill out the top ten most expensive states for electricity costs.

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Shopping for Electricity in Texas, Pt. 5 – Finally Making the Switch

Over the past five weeks, we’ve told you about the different aspects of the deregulated energy market in Texas and how to shop around for an electricity provider. By now, you may feel like an expert on switching, and that’s awesome! We want you to feel comfortable with choosing a new provider for your electricity service, because that confidence will lead you to a lower electric bill.

So what’s next? Now, you want to find providers in your area that offer a low rate on electricity. You can find out the rates for available plans on the providers’ websites, usually by just entering your zip code. Once you find a few plans you like, compare them by such factors as contract length, energy charge, other charges/fees (for example, minimum usage charges, base charges, etc.), and, of course, the overall rate (this is referred to as the “Average Price” and can

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Electricity Bill Saving Tips for Spring Cleaning

Today is the first day of spring, and that means warm temperatures and reducing clutter. Many families like to partake in spring cleaning to tidy up the home, get rid of old, unneeded items, and make way for festive summer gatherings. We have some tips to help clean up your energy usage and save you some green to go along with all the sprouting trees.

Air filters should be cleaned or replaced every 1-3 months as needed. A reduction in airflow makes your heating and cooling systems less effective. Don’t forget to check the vents too! After having a sealed up house for the winter in order to keep warm, dust is bound to get trapped on the vents. Clean them all off to make sure the AC will be nice and cool this summer.

Dust really gets everywhere, and that is especially true for the areas

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Shopping for Electricity in Texas, Pt. 4 – The Fine Print

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been helping you learn the ins and outs of choosing an electricity provider in the deregulated Texas energy market. When shopping around for electricity, just like anything else, you want to look at the fine print. The “fine print” in this case are the Electricity Facts Label (EFL), Your Rights as a Customer (YRAC), and the Terms of Service (TOS). These documents will tell you everything about your plan, including payment terms, contract length, and any fees applicable to your product.

Many plans are subject to additional fees of some sort, regardless of where you get your electricity from. These fees can include early termination and minimum usage.

- Early termination fees apply to when you have a contract length on the product. The contract length is outlined in the TOS and EFL. If you cancel your electricity service or switch

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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois is home to a major celebration for St. Patrick’s Day! Horses, parades, marching bands and bagpipes, and a bright green river make the celebration a must see, whether you’re a native Chicagoan or just visiting. The St. Patrick’s Day 2015 parade was held this past Saturday and marked the 60th anniversary of the festival where everyone is Irish for a day, and the 44th year for the river to be as green as the hills in Ireland.

The parade day, which is always a Saturday, starts out by turning the downtown Chicago River bright green at 9:15 AM. There’s no leprechaun magic here, but rather 40 pounds of EPA approved dye. The dye turns the entire Chicago River an emerald green color and crowds can be seen gathering all along the riverbanks to see the spectacle. The tradition was born unintentionally in 1961 when a

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The 411 about Your Home Electricity Fuse Box

Have you ever turned on an appliance only to have the power go out? If that’s happened, you likely tripped a circuit breaker. Circuit breakers are located inside your home’s fuse box, and they play an important role in keeping your home safe. Your home’s electricity grid is divided into different sections, or circuits. All of the outlets and lights in a circuit are governed by a circuit breaker in the fuse box. If the flow of electricity to a circuit becomes too great, known as a power surge, the breaker will trip, breaking the flow of electricity to prevent fires and high voltage dangers.

In the event your power goes out for this reason, you first need to know where your home electricity fuse box is. Some homes have them in the basement, some in a garage or utility room, and some are located outside. The electricity flowing into

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Shopping for Electricity in New Jersey Made Simple

Shopping for electricity in New Jersey shouldn’t be hard. With New Jersey’s electricity deregulation, you have the ability to choose an energy provider, known as a third party supplier, for your home. This allows you to pick a plan that can be less expensive than the incumbent utility’s rates. But how do you know which one to choose? That tends to be where people get hung up, having to figure out which of the dozens of providers are best. Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) wants to make it easier for consumers.

DeAngelo has proposed legislation that would require the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in New Jersey to provide information relating to third party energy suppliers for electricity and gas. It will allow you to easily compare the rates and plans of different providers in the state. Furthermore, he wants to add a bill that if you switch to a new

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Shopping for Electricity in Texas, Pt. 3 – Prepaid Plans and Pay As You Go

Part 1 – Comparing Providers

Part 2 – Fixed Rate and Variable Rate Plans

When shopping for electricity in Texas, there are several options you could go with. We discussed in our second part of this series that there are two major types of plans that you’ll find: variable and fixed. There is another type of plan that some REPs offer known as pay as you go energy, or prepaid electricity. This plan has you pay for the electricity up front, and you can use it up until the point where you reach your limit.

Prepaid plans are generally aimed at consumers with poor credit and also tend to have higher rates and more fees. They also require a certain amount of vigilance on the part of the consumer. There are no monthly bills so you don’t necessarily know when it’s

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