Duke Energy Offers Tips that Lead to 'Cool Savings' June 19, 2009
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -
With the arrival of summer in the Carolinas, Duke Energy encourages customers to take steps to conserve energy and manage their summer cooling bills. It's also a good time to be reminded of special assistance programs offered through Duke Energy.
Some top tips on managing energy consumption include:
- Close window coverings during the day. During peak cooling hours, solar heat gain can account for one-third of the load on an air conditioner. When home, close the drapes on the sunny side of the house or close all window coverings if leaving for the day.
- Raise the thermostat setting. Cooling below 75 degrees in the summer can double a bill. For each degree cooled below 78, cooling bills can rise by as much as 10 percent. On the other hand, raising the thermostat from 73 degrees to 76 degrees could save 30 percent on air conditioning costs.
- Close windows at night. While it's tempting to give the air conditioner a rest on cool nights, watch the weather forecast before opening the windows at night. If tomorrow is going to be hot again, keep the air conditioning on and the home closed through the night to keep the humidity out of house. Humidity is a significant load on an air conditioner.
- Insulate attic ducts. If air conditioning ducts are visible in an attic, more insulation is probably needed on these ducts. Cool air ducts in a 120-degree attic in the summertime need to be fully buried under 6 inches of insulation. In other words, they need to be out of sight. The factory insulation on these ducts is usually only about 1 inch thick and not adequate for hot attics. Heat absorbed by exposed attic ducts can add 20 percent to 40 percent to your bills.
- Upgrade to high-efficiency air conditioning. New, high efficiency, 13 SEER air conditioners will use only half the energy compared to a 15-year-old air conditioner. If an air conditioner is 10 years old or less, maintain it well and keep it. If it is between 10 years to 15 years old, minor repairs are okay. If an air conditioner is older than 15 years and needs substantial repairs, the best alternative is to replace it with a new, high-efficiency system.
- Properly size the air conditioner. A properly sized air conditioner is very important for comfort, humidity control and energy bills. When buying a new air conditioner, it should be properly sized based on a detailed energy analysis of the home. Avoid the common mistake of a little bump-up for good measure.
- Replace old refrigerators. Many faithful old refrigerators seem to run forever and it's so easy to find an unused electric outlet in the garage. But an old refrigerator may use twice-as-much energy as a new energy-efficient refrigerator. Refrain from putting the old one in the hot garage where it is only partially filled and only seldom used. This seemingly resourceful action could add $180 per year to an energy bill.
Online Energy Savings Tools
Duke Energy offers several Internet-based tools to assist customers with understanding and managing their electric bill, as well as payment options to allow
them to more easily budget for energy use throughout the year.
Understanding Your Electric Bill
For answers to billing questions, sign up for Duke Energy's Online Services at www.duke-energy.com. Once registered, customers have instant access to a variety of useful tools and information, including a 13 month billing history and comparative weather data from the previous year. These records can help illustrate how extreme temperature fluctuations impact electricity usage.
Summer Energy Savings
Additional tips for reducing electricity usage are also available on www.duke-energy.com on the "Residential" tab. Specifically, customers can access energy-saving information for air conditioning, home insulation and other household tips that can help reduce their usage and their bills. Customers can also conduct online energy audits and view videos on energy efficiency.
Managing Your Energy Costs
To help customers in the Carolinas manage their monthly energy costs, Duke Energy offers a variety of programs, including an Automatic Payment Plan, Equal Payment Plan, and Third Party Notification. For more information, visit www.duke-energy.com or contact Duke Energy at (800) 777-9898.
Special Assistance Programs
Duke Energy's Cooling Assistance and Fan-Heat Relief programs in the Carolinas are funded through The Duke Energy Foundation and the company's Bulk Power Marketing Sharing Programs.
Annual contributions of more than $330,000 are spread among the counties within our Carolinas service area. A specific agency (or agencies) is selected in each county to distribute the funds and to determine the criteria for family eligibility.
The summer heat can pose a serious health concern, particularly for many of our senior citizens. Duke Energy and the Duke Energy Foundation contribute $80,000 through state agencies in North Carolina and South Carolina for the purchase of fans for senior citizens.
Duke Energy Carolinas
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 19,000 megawatts of electricity capacity to approximately 2.4 million customers in a 22,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Duke Energy is the third largest electric power holding company in the United States, based on kilowatt-hour sales. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 4 million customers located in five states -- North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky -- representing a population of approximately 11 million people. Duke Energy's commercial power and international business segments operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.