4-County, TVA offer energy-saving tips during heat wave

With temperatures soaring around the 100-degree mark this week across the Southeast, 4-County Electric Power Association and the Tennessee Valley Authority remind consumers that using energy wisely can save money on electric bills and help utilities better manage demand.
“Our system is seeing the highest demand for electricity so far this summer and the highest peak energy use since 2007,” said Robert Balzar, vice president of TVA’s Energy Efficiency and Demand Response. “TVA has sufficient resources available to meet the current need. But every consumer can play a role in reducing electricity demand and costs by conserving energy where they work and live.”
Summer energy use normally is highest between 2 and 8 p.m., when TVA and other power suppliers are most likely to need to operate higher-cost peaking generators and purchase more expensive electricity from outside sources to help supply keep up with demand, 4-County officials said.
“The hot afternoon hours, particularly on weekdays, are when people can make the most difference in reducing demand,” said Dale Parra, 4-County interim general manager/CEO, noting that the sweltering temperatures are expected to continue for the next several days in many areas.
Consumers can help reduce demand, and their power bills, by raising thermostats to 78 degrees. Every degree below 78 increases the average cost to consumers by 5 percent.
Other energy-saving tips include:
• Turning off unnecessary lights and appliances.
• Using the “sleep mode” on computers.
• Keeping window blinds and curtains closed on the south, east and west sides of the house during the day.
• Using the microwave or a grill instead of a stove burner or oven for cooking.
• Operating dishwashers and clothes washers only with full loads and after 8 p.m.
TVA met a demand for electricity of more than 31,700 megawatts on the afternoon of Aug. 4. Demand is expected to remain high until the weekend. The all-time record is 33,482 megawatts set on Aug. 16, 2007.
Monthly average temperatures in May, June and July were all above normal, TVA forecasters said. The average temperature in July was 93 degrees, three degrees above normal. August is expected to be four degrees above normal.
Consumers can learn more about how to make their homes more energy efficient, including scheduling a home energy audit by a 4-County marketing specialist or a TVA-certified evaluator. Learn more about 4-County’s energy efficient programs by visiting http://www.4county.org or http://www.energyright.com.