AMARILLO, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — The following is a press release from Xcel Energy:
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 in its Texas-New Mexico service
area 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 xcelenergy.com to learn about options and
programs to help manage bills.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across
eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader
in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a
variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow
us on Twitter and Facebook.
(Press release from Xcel Energy)