Customers Have Access To A Suite Of Energy-Saving Programs That Lower Bills All Year Long
The rising costs of everything from fuel to food are compelling area residents to trim household expenses but cutting out air conditioning as summer-like weather impacts the region is not a step many care to take. With a few minor adjustments, however, Xcel Energy customers can keep a lid on rising costs and still stay comfortable as the mercury soars.
“Electricity demand is on the rise as we turn on air conditioning to deal with these early heat waves,” said Brad Baldridge, Xcel Energy director for Customer and Community Relations in Texas and New Mexico. “Combined with the rising cost of producing electricity, our bills are likely going up. But a renewed focus on energy efficiency should help us all better manage those costs.”
Xcel Energy offers tips to beat the heat and save money at its Energy Saving Tips page at xcelenergy.com. While some efficiency improvements involve long-term financial investment, many tips are simple and inexpensive to implement and are effective at reducing bills, including:
- Using weather stripping to seal doors and windows so cool air can’t escape.
- Raising the thermostat level into the 80s when no one is at home, and then gradually lowering it to around 78 degrees when the house is occupied.
- Investing in a “smart” thermostat that allows customers to program and/or adjust thermostat settings from a mobile device.
- Closing blinds and drapes during the heat of the day to block the heat from sunlight.
- Using fans to circulate air throughout the home, even when the air conditioning is on.
- Opening interior doors to allow cool air to circulate in the house. Or, if there is a part of the house not in use, closing it off to keep the cool air where it is desired.
- Putting off cooking and clothes drying and other chores that create heat inside the home until past 7 p.m.
- Shading air conditioning units to boost their efficiency.
Additionally, installing LED bulbs helps stretch savings further because they use 70-90% less energy and last 15 times longer. Xcel Energy has teamed up with select retailers to provide discounts on certain LED bulbs. Customers can locate these retailers at the company’s Home Lighting page at xcelenergy.com.
Customers can take a further step toward ongoing savings by having their homes tested for air leaks that can make cooling and heating units less efficient and more costly to operate. Xcel Energy provides a list of approved energy efficiency contractors at xcelenergyefficiency.com that will find these air leaks and make energy-saving improvements free of charge.
The company also offers $50 bill credits in October for every central air conditioning unit customers enroll in the Saver’s Switch program. This voluntary energy-savings program enlists customers in helping Xcel Energy manage electricity demand on hot days by cutting back just a little on the time the air conditioner works to cool the home. More information on this voluntary program is available at the Saver’s Switch page at xcelenergy.com.
Customers having difficulty paying their bills should contact Xcel Energy as soon as possible. Xcel Energy offers payment arrangements on a case-by-case basis, allowing customers to pay over time should they need to. These extensions vary according to individual circumstances, but most are from three to six months. For customers facing loss of income or other hardships that prevent them from making payments, Xcel Energy’s personal account representatives can assist in connecting them with agencies in their area that offer help with utility bills.
Personal account representatives will have a listing of appropriate community funds in each town served by Xcel Energy, and will help qualified customers apply this funding to outstanding balances. Additionally, agents have been reaching out to customers who have qualified for energy assistance in the past to ensure they are aware of the resources available to them.
Customers wishing to visit with Xcel Energy about payment arrangements can call 1-800-895-4999 Monday through Friday or visit the customer support page at xcel energy.com to learn about options and programs to help manage bills.