PUC Offers Summer Energy Conservation Tips for Texans
Following Campaign’s Simple Steps Can Help Consumers Curb Electricity Use and Save on Monthly Utility Bills
Austin, TX – The heart of summer in the Lone Star State brings scorching hot temperatures and increased electricity usage, as Texans try to beat the heat by cranking up the air conditioning.
As part of its new Power to Save campaign, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) is reminding all residents to do their part to conserve electricity during the dog days of summer. Taking a few simple steps will not only help the state save energy, but will also help consumers reduce their monthly utility bills, keeping more money in their pockets without affecting their comfort.
During the summer, electricity usage is highest between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The PUC is asking Texans to conserve electricity during these peak hours by delaying heavy electricity consumption activities – such as running the washing machine or dishwasher – until later in the evening.
“Last summer’s record heat and drought presented challenges that we had to overcome. Despite 90 days of triple-digit weather in parts of Texas, we avoided critical conditions due to the public’s response. This year, we are again encouraging people to make small changes to their daily routines,” said Chairman Donna Nelson of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. “Simple steps such as raising your air conditioner one to two degrees, closing window blinds and turning off lights can make a huge difference in helping us meet our energy conservation goals.”
Turning up your air conditioning by only one or two degrees can reduce your energy usage by 16 percent and save you money, Nelson added. Turning the electric water heater down by 10 degrees can reduce energy consumption by 5 percent. Using a programmable thermostat can make it easier to reduce electricity usage between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
At the centerpiece of the campaign is a new website, www.PowerToSaveTexas.org, which shares information on reducing energy usage and features links to both track your usage and shop for the lowest electricity rates available. Users can even sign up to receive energy alerts via email, to help avoid outages.
The PUC offers the following simple tips for Texans to conserve electricity this summer.
Air Conditioning and Heating
- Ideally, try to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, but even 1-2 degrees higher than your usual setting helps reduce electricity usage. Use fans to make rooms feel four to six degrees cooler
- Make sure windows and doors are closed tightly
- Close blinds or drapes on windows that get direct sunlight
Washers, Dryers and Dishwashers
- Only run these appliances when they are fully loaded – and after 7 p.m. – to keep the house cooler and reduce electricity usage during peak times
- Wash laundry with cold water, and don’t overfill the dryer
- Dry laundry in back-to-back loads to take advantage of the already-heated dryer
- Make sure the outside dryer air vent is properly sealed
- Use the air-dry setting on dishwashers to prevent heating the kitchen with the heat-dry setting
Lighting and Other Electrical Equipment
- Turn off lights, TVs and other electrical equipment when not in use. Devices that are not running but are plugged in still consume energy, so unplug devices and turn off power strips.
- Set computers and monitors to “sleep” when idle for more than a few minutes.
- Do not run kitchen or bathroom ventilation fans longer than necessary because they replace inside air with warmer air from outside.
More energy-saving tips can be found on the Power to Save website at www.powertosavetexas.org.