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Lower Electric Bills with Energy Efficiency During Frigid Weather

February 7, 2014

With one arctic blast following another deep into Texas since November, members of electric cooperatives are seeing unexpectedly high energy bills, and many are asking why. Utilities across Texas are reporting record winter electricity demand following the coldest sustained temperatures in decades. In Northeast Texas in December, the National Weather Service reported only seven days out of 31 had lows above 40 degrees.

To help avoid higher-than-normal energy bills, electric cooperatives encourage their members to use electricity efficiently. Setting the thermostat to 68 degrees when home and lower when away saves money. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that lowering the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day can trim heating bills 5 to 15 percent.

Other tips to reduce energy use:

  • Turn off and unplug nonessential lights and appliances.
  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce heat lost through windows. Open them on sunny days to capture solar heat.
  • Avoid using inefficient and costly backup electric resistance heating and space heaters.
  • Change furnace filters.

Long-term home repairs and upgrades that save energy:

  • Install and set programmable thermostats.
  • Seal air leaks around doors, windows, plumbing, wiring and any other places where air can infiltrate.
  • Ensure that exterior walls and attics contain the recommended amount and type of insulation.

Texas Electric Cooperatives, the association representing the state's electric co-ops, encourages members to contact their co-op for energy-saving ideas. Many co-ops regularly publish energy-efficiency information in Texas Co-op Power magazine. To learn more, visit texascooppower.com/energy/efficiency or energy.gov/energysaver.