AMARILLO, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — Residential electricity prices for Xcel Energy customers in Texas and New Mexico have fallen over the last year, but as the heat builds in, customers tend to use more electricity, which can lead to higher bills.
“Electricity demand is higher this time of year because most of us are using air conditioning to stay comfortable inside,” said Brad Baldridge, Xcel Energy director for Customer and Community Relations in Texas and New Mexico. “But if we pay careful attention to how we use electricity, we don’t have to trade comfort for savings.”
Xcel Energy offers tips to beat the heat and save money too 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.