With the arrival of summer just around the corner, increased temperatures are on the way. Ameren Illinois officials are advising customers on how to stay safe and cool while better managing their electricity usage.
Typically, residential customers use more electricity during the summer months than the rest of the year. Most of this additional electricity is used to operate air conditioners.
"We work to maintain the reliability of our delivery system and meet the higher energy demand that comes with hot weather," said Richard Mark, president and CEO, Ameren Illinois. "We also want our customers stay safe and cool while taking the steps necessary to better control their electricity usage."
Ameren Illinois offers these hot weather safety and savings tips:
- During extremely hot weather, check on friends, neighbors and relatives who may be especially vulnerable to high temperatures, such as those who are older, have medical issues or do not have air conditioning.
- If you do not have an air conditioner, consider going to an air conditioned place during the hottest times of the day. Options may include the home of a friend or neighbor, a shopping mall or a public building. Some communities have temporary cooling centers.
- In addition to staying as cool as possible, it is important to drink plenty of water or other liquids that do not contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar. Never wait until you are thirsty to drink.
- If possible, turn the air conditioner’s thermostat up a few degrees. For each degree you increase the temperature, you can reduce electricity use by about 3 percent.
- Use low operating cost ceiling fans or other types of circulating fans. Circulating air feels cooler. By using circulating fans, you may find you can set the air conditioner thermostat at 76 to 78 degrees.
- Regularly change or wash (depending on type) air conditioner filters. This is especially important if you have pets or live in an area that has a lot of dust. Keep shades, curtains and blinds closed during the day to reduce effects of solar heating.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Incandescent bulbs produce significant amounts of heat which may cause your air conditioner to work harder and use more electricity. On the other hand, Energy Star qualified CFLs emit little heat and produce light more efficiently. A CFL will save about $5 in electricity costs per year while giving the air conditioner a break. Residential customers may purchase CFLs at participating retailers. CFLs also are available at ActOnEnergy.com or by calling 1-866-845-7085.
- Consider turning off the air conditioner and opening windows on mild days and cool nights.
- Don’t forget to take extra care of your pets. Watch for signs of heat stroke, especially heavy panting, lethargy or vomiting. Be sure to provide plenty of water and offer your dog several ways to cool off. For example, leave a fan on in a place where your pet can sit in front of it, or add some ice cubes to the water bowl. Finally, never leave your pet alone inside a car. Even with the windows cracked, the inside of a car can heat up to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.
ActOnEnergy offers qualified residential customers a rebate on programmable thermostats. These thermostats are more accurate than non-digital thermostats, help you maintain consistent comfort levels and can save residential customers $100 to $200 a year on energy costs. Complete ActOnEnergy information is available at ActOnEnergy.com.
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 806,000 natural gas customers in Illinois, and our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Our service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com or find us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois.
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