Avoid getting scorched by summer energy bills with tips from Duke Energy Florida

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  • Free home energy check can help you save hundreds

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. —– During the summer months, Florida’s rising temperatures can cause a seasonal spike in customers’ electric bills. Duke Energy Florida urges customers to take control of their energy use by making simple, energy-efficient changes in their homes.

Consider that, when the outdoor temperature is about five degrees warmer than typical, maintaining a home’s internal temperature at 78 degrees may cost an average residential customer with an 1850-square-foot, single family home about $2 more per day. Individual customers’ bills may be higher or lower depending on a number of factors including: home and family size, cooling system efficiency, insulation level and temperature setting.

“While several days of unusually hot weather can lead to a noticeable increase in your electric bill, an extended period of scorching summer sun can make some customers’ energy bills spike,” said Joseph Pietrzak, products and services manager, Duke Energy Florida. “We encourage customers to contact us now for advice and help with energy-saving changes so they don’t have to pay the high price of inefficiency during the dog days of summer.”

Duke Energy Florida offers free Home Energy Checks to help customers identify how they can reduce their electric use and save money. Through this service, which can be performed online, over the phone or in person, the company’s energy advisors provide energy-saving recommendations and determine customers’ eligibility for company rebates toward energy-efficient improvements.

Following the home energy check, customers in single-family homes receive a free energy efficiency kit (customers living in apartments, condominiums, duplexes and townhomes may be eligible for the Multi-Family Energy Improvement Program). The starter kit contains items that help conserve energy and water, including an energy-efficient showerhead, faucet aerators, a hot water gauge, a refrigerator/freezer thermometer, weather-strip seals for doors and windows, switch and outlet insulation seals and LED light bulbs. To sign up, call 1.877.574.0340 or visit the company’s Home Energy Check website.

In addition, Duke Energy Florida recommends that customers take several steps to begin saving energy and money immediately.

  • Set the A/C to 78 degrees or higher. The A/C is the largest consumer of energy in most Floridians’ homes, and the one that puts in the most overtime when the summer heat is at its highest. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher when cooling to maximize energy savings. For every degree the thermostat is set above 78, customers can save up to 10 percent on their cooling costs. Customers who set their thermostats to the recommended temperatures year-round could save about $300 in annual energy costs. Make saving energy even easier by investing in a programmable thermostat.
  • Become a fan of the fan. Ceiling fans offer an inexpensive alternative to setting the thermostat to a lower temperature. That’s because fans make people feel several degrees cooler without lowering the temperature in the room – all while using a fraction of the energy consumed by the A/C. Set the fan to turn counter-clockwise in the summer and be sure to turn it off when leaving the room.
  • Adjust the water heater. This is one simple – and often unnoticeable – change that will continue saving energy over time. Set the water heater to 120 degrees instead of 140 to save up to $85 in annual energy costs. If you head out of town, turn it off entirely. There’s no need to heat unused water. Plus, once turned back on, most models will reheat the water to the set temperature in about an hour.
  • Upgrade attic insulation. Think of it as adding another layer of protection between your living space and the harsh outdoors. Upgrading to insulation that’s rated R-38 or greater is the best way to reduce high home cooling and heating costs. Following a Duke Energy Home Energy Check, customers may qualify for a rebate of up to $200.
  • If you can stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Take your culinary quest to the grill instead. Using the oven in the heat of summer forces a home’s A/C to work harder, raising electric bills. Grill outdoors instead of baking or roasting to save energy and money.
  • Let Duke Energy reduce your bill for you. Join the EnergyWise HomeSM program and save up to $147 a year on your bill. EnergyWise Home is a free program that reduces participating customers’ energy usage during periods of unusually high demand. The program works by temporarily cycling power off and on to select electrical equipment such as water heaters, pool pumps, and heating and cooling systems. Duke Energy Florida’s EnergyWise Home Program was recognized among the nation’s best demand response programs and received a 2015 Pacesetter Award from the Peak Load Management Alliance.

Duke Energy is an industry leader in the development and implementation of programs to help customers save energy and money. Through the company’s energy-efficiency programs, Duke Energy Florida’s customers have collectively saved more than $1.5 billion in energy costs over the last 30 years. That’s enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes for a year.

Visit duke-energy.com/save for additional information on all of Duke Energy Florida’s energy saver programs and incentives.

Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida owns coal-fired and natural gas generation providing about 9,100 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.

With its Florida regional headquarters located in St. Petersburg, Fla., Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.4 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. Its Commercial Portfolio and International business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com

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Contact: Peveeta Persaud

Twitter: @DE_PeveetaP