Let energy usage FALL with the season. Helpful tips from Progress Energy Florida on how to save on electricity and reduce costs this season

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ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - Fall weather often allows Floridians to open the windows and shut off the air conditioner, helping to secure energy savings.

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, suggests that additional energy-saving tips can make an even greater impact on your electric usage.

"“According to a comprehensive study of our customer's energy usage, air conditioning accounts for 30 percent of the total year-round bill, so opening the windows in the fall can dramatically lower your electric bill,”" says Malcolm Barnes, field operations manager for Progress Energy Florida. “"There are other things you can do that will really make difference in the amount you pay.”'

Follow some simple F-A-L-L tips to save on your energy bill :

Forget about peeking: When baking that delicious pumpkin pie or Thanksgiving dinner for the family, do not open the oven door to check on it. Opening the door just once can drop the oven's temperature anywhere from 25-30 degrees requiring more electricity to maintain the temperature, and ultimately adding to the time needed for items to bake.

Attack vampires: The biggest scare to your Halloween plans may be "Energy Vampires." These are electronics that use energy even when not in use, such as cable and satellite boxes, video game consoles and laptop and cell phone chargers, just to name a few. Energy suckers like these use "phantom load," and can run up your electricity costs unnecessarily.

To help slay these vampires, plug your devices into power strips and power off or unplug the whole strip when not in use. Be sure to unplug Halloween lights and motion-sensor talking ghouls during the day.

Let it air out: Take advantage of crisp, cooler autumn breezes and hang clothes outside to dry. Drying clothes outside on a line or inside on a drying rack saves about 40 cents per load. That savings can add up to $160 a year for an average household. Plus, line-dried clothes receive less wear and tear and will be static free without the use of dryer sheets – resulting in more savings.

Wash several loads of laundry in a row, reducing the cost of using the dryer. Since the dryer has less time to cool completely between loads, it takes less energy to warm up for a new load.

Lower that thermostat: Take advantage of the cooler weather and lower humidity by opening windows. If you must use your air conditioning, lower your thermostat closer to the outside temperature. And, if you have a heated pool or spa, lower those thermostats as well. The American Red Cross suggests that 78 degrees is the most healthful swimming temperature. 

Although all of these changes in routine seem minor, they can add up to significant savings on your power bill. Monitor your electric bills as you make certain changes to your energy consumption, and watch the cost decrease over time.

Sign up for a no-cost Home Energy Check and discover more than 100 energy-saving tips by visiting progress-energy.com/save or calling 877.364.9003.

Progress Energy Florida

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. More information is available at www.progress-energy.com.

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