Duke Energy offers tips to stay safe and manage energy usage during cold weather

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PLAINFIELD, IND. - With temperatures forecasted to dip to near zero in Indiana this week, Duke Energy encourages its customers to take steps to stay warm and save money.

Electric heating and cooling can account for as much as half of a home’s energy bill, so controlling the home thermostat is one of the best ways to manage energy usage and cost.

Set the thermostat back to the lowest setting that is comfortable. It’s possible to save around 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills by simply turning the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day. As an alternative, there are programmable thermostats that enable customers to automatically set specific temperatures at different times of the day.

Additional steps customers can take to manage their energy demand and reduce energy bills:

  • Set ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to push warm air down into rooms.
  • If the sun is out, open drapes and blinds to allow the sun to warm rooms during the day. Close them at night.
  • Change heating-system air filters. Dirty air filters make heating systems work harder, which uses more energy.

Find this and other tips at: www.duke-energy.com. Just click on the “save energy and money” link.

Duke Energy also reminds customers to be prepared in the event of a power outage. The low temperatures will put higher stress on the equipment used to generate and deliver electricity. Isolated equipment problems are possible, which could result in scattered outages.

To be prepared, customers should consider the following tips:

  • Check supplies of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc.
  • Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is on hand.
  • Do not attempt to heat with a gas grill or by bringing a generator inside. Only operate such equipment outdoors in well-ventilated areas. Follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Check on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs or who are elderly to ensure they have necessary emergency supplies. Encourage them to determine now what action they would take in the event of an extended power outage.

Customers who experience an outage should call Duke Energy’s automated outage-reporting system at 1-800-343-3525.

Customers may also report an outage or view current outages online at www.duke-energy.com/storms.

During an outage, turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible. This will help with restoration efforts as it will reduce the immediate demand on the power lines when power is restored.

Once power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning your equipment back on.

Duke Energy Indiana’s operations provide about 7,500 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 800,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it the state’s largest electric supplier.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at www.duke-energy.com.