TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the days get longer and temperatures rise, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is reminding customers about energy-saving measures that can mitigate the higher electric bills associated with hot summer weather.
Increased air conditioning use usually drives electric consumption higher beginning in May until it peaks typically in July, when average monthly usage for residential customers exceeds 1,200 kilowatt hours.
To offset those increases, customers can follow a few simple steps and take advantage of energy efficiency programs that can help keep energy costs down in hot weather.
- Set your thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature to minimize your cooling costs. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer, although individual preferences may vary. For every degree you raise your thermostat, you can reduce your overall energy costs by about 2-3 percent.
- Use ceiling or oscillating fans to keep air moving so you feel cooler without increasing air conditioner use. Don't block vents or ducts inside the house. Maintaining clear air paths allows your cooling system to work more efficiently. Keep exterior doors and windows closed when running the air conditioner.
- In summer, use shades, blinds or curtains to keep sunlight out, especially during the afternoon in rooms facing west.
Energy Efficiency Programs
- Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with cooler ones like compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) that carry the Energy Star label. Energy Star-qualified CFLs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. They also generate about 75 percent less heat, so they can cut energy costs associated with home cooling. Discounted CFLs are available through the TEP Energy Star Lighting Program.
- Consider planting trees that will help you conserve energy by shading buildings and reducing the effects of urban heat islands. TEP customers can purchase up to three native and low-water trees per year for just $5 each – down from $8 each last year – through the TEP Trees for You Program.
- With the TEP Weatherization Assistance program, TEP works with the Tucson Urban League and Pima County to help limited-income residents reduce their energy expenses through the installation of improved insulation, upgraded cooler motors and other home improvements. These upgrades are provided at no cost to eligible recipients, though funding is limited.
- If you are in the market for a new home, TEP Energy Smart Homes can offer a variety of energy-efficient features including highly effective insulation, high-performance windows, tight construction and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment and Energy Star-qualified lighting and appliances.
More energy-saving tips are available at tep.com/tips.
This summer’s higher bills will be mitigated by lower energy costs. Last month, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved TEP’s request to decrease the Purchased Power and Fuel Adjustment Charge used to calculate customers’ monthly bills beginning May 1. The average monthly bill of a typical residential customer is expected to drop by $4.26 due to the adjustment, which is the result of lower fuel and purchased power prices.
Customers can reduce their bills even more this summer by signing up now for an equal payment plan. TEP’s Budget Billing program levels out seasonal swings in monthly bills by dividing customers’ estimated annual charges into 12 equal monthly payments. There is no additional charge to enroll in this program, and customers only pay for the energy they use. Discounted rates and emergency bill payment assistance also are available to eligible limited-income customers.
TEP provides safe, reliable electric service to approximately 417,000 customers in Southern Arizona. For more information, visit tep.com. TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy, are subsidiaries of Fortis Inc., which owns utilities that serve more than 3 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean. To learn more, visit fortisinc.com.