The warm temperatures and climbing heat index has people turning down their thermostats, which caused a record-breaking demand in electricity Tuesday.
According to a press release by Jackson EMC in Jefferson, the company has experienced its highest summer demand in electricity in 10 years. The peak demand record is reached between the hours of 4:00 and 5:00 p.m., or the end of most people’s workdays.
The company urges its customers to take necessary steps to reduce the electrical demand, while the company implements the same effort.
To combat the high humidity and temperatures, Jackson EMC uses a load management program to help decrease peak demand on the hottest days.
“It’s a voluntary program that briefly cycles off residential and commercial members’ equipment, such as air conditioners and heat pumps, in order to control peak electrical demand,” April Sorrow said in a press release.
This year alone, the company has run load management a total of 13 times, but this time last year, the program had run five times.
While Jackson EMC manages the demand, the company encourages its members to reduce their energy use to help with the demand and lower their monthly bills.
Stay Cool for Less
- Set your thermostat to 78 degrees. Nearly half of the electricity used in homes goes to condition the air inside.
- Don't turn off the air conditioner when you're gone; instead set it higher. Turning it off makes the system work harder to overcome the heat built up in a house when you turn it back on.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Set it to bring your home's temperature down to 78 degrees 30 minutes before you get home.
- Replace air conditioner filters now, then once a month. The dirtier the filter, the harder your heat pump must work.
- Lamps, televisions or anything that creates heat needs to be kept away from the thermostat, as they will impact its accuracy.
- Don't block vents with furniture or other objects.
- Use ceiling fans when you are in a room to provide additional cooling; they also provide better circulation, which reduces air conditioning costs.
- Trim foliage around the air conditioning condenser to allow adequate airflow around the unit.
Reduce Heat Inside
- Restrict use of heat-producing appliances like ovens, dishwashers and dryers to the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler outdoors.
- Grill outside or use a microwave or toaster oven. A toaster oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a regular oven and releases less heat into the home.
- Turn off heat-generating devices when not in use — including lamps, televisions and computers.
- On warm days, close blinds and drapes, especially in south-facing windows which allow in the most heat.
Cut Energy Use Everywhere Else
- Activate “sleep” features on computers and office equipment that power down when the equipment is not in use.
- Do full loads when you use clothes washers, dryers and dishwashers.
- Use dimmers, timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
- Replace lightbulbs with LED bulbs, which burn longer and produce less heat.
- Plant deciduous trees to shade the south side of your house.
- Insulate floors, walls and attics to keep cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
- Get your air conditioner tuned-up. Consider a maintenance contract that provides a checkup twice a year, prior to peak cooling and heating seasons.
- If your HVAC unit is 10 years old or more, consider replacing it. Newer models are more energy efficient and may lower your electric bill. Jackson EMC offers rebates and low-interest loans for qualifying members. More details about these programs are available at www.jacksonemc.com/rebates.