Some Summer Energy Tips for the Hot Days Ahead

June 27, 2011 Updated Jun 27, 2011 at 11:27 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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Some Summer Energy Tips for the Hot Days Ahead

June 27, 2011 Updated Jun 27, 2011 at 11:27 AM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW-Release)

One way to make the lazy days of summer even more relaxing is to be ready for what the weather will bring. National Grid has prepared its New York system to help customers beat the heat and urges customers to take steps to cut costs when the temperature rises.

"National Grid's increased investment in the upstate New York electric system in recent years directly supports our reliability during summer's peaks," said Kenneth D. Daly, National Grid president for New York. "As the frequency and length of customer outages continue to improve, National Grid recognizes that ongoing investment in the system will provide our customers with the service reliability they deserve."

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which operates and conducts long-term planning for New York State’s bulk electricity system, is reporting that the state’s electricity supplies should be adequate to meet expected demand this summer. NYISO forecasts that New York’s summer 2011 peak usage will reach 32,712 megawatts. The forecast is two percent lower than the 2010 summer peak of 33,452 megawatts.

To help meet demand during potential heat waves or unanticipated loss of supply, National Grid has reinstated its successful Summer Energy Watch Advisory program. The advisory program alerts customers, primarily through the broadcast media, of requests by NYISO for voluntary reductions in electricity use.

Weather is a driving factor in increased demand for electricity. Summer heat is responsible for electricity system peaks in New York as cooling demand from air conditioners increases overall usage. While adequate summer supply is forecasted, National Grid offers tips that can help customers to save money no matter the weather.

Energy and Money-Saving Tips for Customers

Draw blinds, shades or drapes to block the sunlight during the hottest part of the day, especially on south and west-facing windows.
Cool things down by reducing the amount of heat generated in your home. Turn off lights when they are not needed, and avoid cooking, bathing or washing clothes during the hottest hours of the day.
Summer is the perfect time to reduce water heater temperature since the days are warmer. Set the thermostat to 120 degrees or less for normal use, and lower the setting when away from home for extended periods. For every 10-degree decrease in heater temperature, energy use may be cut by 3 to 5 percent. Reduced temperatures will also decrease the risk of scalding.

Electric fans use very little electricity -- costing approximately $9 to $11 per month for continuous use -- and can provide relief from the heat. In the morning and evening, window fans are especially useful in moving cooler air from outdoors into a home.
Use the fan setting on the air conditioner at night when the air outside is cooler, or open a window and leave the air conditioner off. Keep windows and doors closed whenever the air conditioner is on.
Second refrigerators or freezers cost up to $150 a year to run. Customers can recycle their old second refrigerator or freezer with National Grid’s Upstate New York Residential Electric: Second Refrigerator Freezer Recycling Turn in Program. We’ll pick it up for free and give you a $30 rebate. You’ll save energy, money and help keep these materials out of landfills. Visit www.powerofaction.com to enroll online or call 1-877-691-0021 to schedule a pickup.
Check your air conditioner filter, and replace or clean it if clogged.
The lower you set your temperature on your air conditioner, the costlier it is to operate. For example, a 75 degree setting will cost about 18 percent more than a 78 degree setting. Set the thermostat on your air conditioner as high as comfort will permit.
Use programmable thermostats to optimize air conditioning systems. National Grid offers a $25 cash rebate for each ENERGY STAR-rated or seven-day programmable thermostat installed (maximum two per household). Visit www.powerofaction.com to enroll online.
Tighten your home’s “thermal envelope.” If you have air conditioning, you can save electricity by sealing everything that separates the inside of your home from the outside. Check the caulking around windows and weather-stripping around doors. Storm doors and storm windows actually can help keep cool air in the home so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.
Qualified homeowners may reduce their energy costs and increase a home’s comfort by participating in the Enhanced Home Sealing Incentives Program. Sealing a home’s air leaks will make a house more comfortable and cut year-round energy use.
These energy efficiency improvements will help heating and cooling systems run more effectively. Take advantage of this limited-time offer and register for this program by calling 1- 877-741-4330 or by e-mailing EnhancedHomeSealing@csgrp.com.

According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, one of the most cost-effective energy conservation measures, for both cooling and heating, is to add extra ceiling or attic insulation to an increased depth of 12 inches.