Don’t let hotter weather melt your pocketbook

We want to let you know there are some things you can do to keep your energy bills manageable as summer temperatures are on the rise. Seems like just yesterday that we were ringing in the new year. Now it’s already late August, the last full month of summer. And while we’ve enjoyed a relatively mild summer thus far in Greater San Antonio, August is known to be the city’s hottest month of the year and it’s now trying to live up to its reputation.

With higher temperatures skirting near triple digits and a heat index of 105 and above, August bills are expected to be higher as customers use more energy to stay cool. As a community, we’re edging closer to our peak daily record of 5,159 megawatts (MW) used. On August 19, our peak demand was 4,916 MW.

Like weather, fuel costs also affect your energy bill. The industry is currently seeing higher natural gas costs, which in turn, is driving up the total amount of your bills. You’ll notice that the fuel adjustment factor that is included in your bill typically shifts up and down throughout the year. This can happen for a variety of reasons, especially as fuel costs fluctuate. Learn more about how to read your bill here. And, we remind you that we’re holding Winter Storm Uri related costs as we continue to fight those illegal and unconscionable charges that led to natural gas suppliers reaping billions of dollars in profits.

Keeping the hot weather and rising fuel costs in mind, there are some changes you can make as we wait for the official start of fall on September 22 to save energy and money.

As we’ve shared in the past, AC systems can account for 50% or more of your bill. The easiest no-cost change you can make to reduce your energy use is to bump up your thermostat and remember to ensure your AC is not overworked, avoid setting it more than 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature

Another thing you can do is monitor your energy use to keep your bill more manageable. Visit My Energy Portal to track how much electricity you are using with near real-time data instead of waiting until you get your bill like you did before the portal. You can check out your daily energy use online, and even drill down to hourly or 15-minute increments. Knowledge is power – figuratively and literally! The more you know when your energy use is spiking, the greater your ability to make behavioral changes that can lower the amount of energy you buy.

Other ways to manage your consumption are to follow these simple no cost/low cost tips.

  • Set your air conditioner to 78 degrees and bump it up a few degrees higher when you’re not home.
  • Use a ceiling fan in occupied rooms to help you feel 4 – 6 degrees cooler. Remember, fans cool people not rooms. Turn it off when you leave.
  • Seal air leaks around doors and windows.
  • Check and replace dirty AC filters often.
  • Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees.
  • Wash clothes in cold temperatures rather than hot water and do full loads.
  • Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
  • Make sure the seal around the refrigerator door is airtight.
  • Set refrigerator temperature to 37 – 40 degrees and freezer at 0 – 5 degrees.

Being there for our customers, answering their questions and providing tips on saving money has always been part of our commitment. These helpful tips can go a long way to helping you save both energy and money. More tips can be found here.

Although we can’t control the weather, we can certainly change some of our habits to help control our energy bill and avoid being surprised when we receive it.

John Moreno

John is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.