However, the company urges customers to conserve electricity as much as possible. This will help customers keep their electricity bills lower and help moderate the heavy demand on utilities' operating equipment and systems.
Some of the highest temperatures of the year are expected this week.
"We are asking customers with air conditioning to raise the setting on thermostats a degree or two to avoid continuous operation of their air conditioning equipment," says Thomas R. Voss, Ameren Corporation executive vice president and chief operating officer. "We are also asking customers with electric clothes dryers and cooking equipment to reduce the use of these appliances, particularly between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., and to turn off unnecessary lighting and limit electric equipment use. These conservation efforts will help customers better control their electrical usage and their energy bills."
Voss adds that the company is especially concerned about the elderly in this heat. "During our time of extreme heat, we encourage customers without air conditioning to visit a cooling center or relatives with air conditioning," he says. "Any support customers can give to elderly neighbors, family members and friends may save lives. Ameren and its customers also help families and individuals in need with Dollar More or the Dollar More-funded Warm Neighbors Program in AmerenIP territory. Dollar More is the region's largest private energy assistance program. Gifts to Dollar More at this time also really help. We thank all customers for their support during times of extreme weather conditions."
Ameren companies serve 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
More Energy Conservation Tips:
Air conditioners also lead to high energy costs, unless you are alert to these energy facts:
• To cool your house efficiently, your air conditioner needs to be cool itself. Keep it in the shade. If your air conditioner is already in the sun, you can build a wood shade screen for it--just don't block the air flow.
• If you have central air conditioning, cool only the rooms you use. But don't close all your vents. Closing too many vents actually reduces operating efficiency.
• Turn the air conditioner thermostat up when you leave the house for several days or longer.
• Don't switch your air conditioner to a colder setting when you turn it on. Constantly moving the thermostat up and down throughout the day wastes energy and money. Placing the thermostat at extremes won't cool your home any faster; it only makes your system work harder.
• Set the thermostat as high as possible. The recommended energy efficient summer temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Where your thermostat is located sometimes determines how well it operates. It should never be placed on an exterior wall, where it would be affected by the hot or cold outdoor temperatures. Appliances that give off heat -- like lamps -- should be kept away from the thermostat to ensure that the instrument senses the temperature accurately.
• To clean your thermostat, gently blow out any dust or lint. Because it is a delicate instrument, it should be cleaned gently. If your thermostat is 10 years old or older, you might replace it with a newer model that is more accurate and efficient.
• Consider placing a timer on your room air conditioner or using a programmable thermostat on your central air conditioner. Hardware stores sell timers and programmable thermostats that will automatically start your air conditioner before you get home.
• You can save energy by taking care of air conditioner coils. They won't work efficiently unless they are clean, so check them out every spring. If they are dusty, dirty or clogged with old leaves, you can vacuum them with your household vacuum cleaner. If the attachment on the vacuum cleaner won't fit between the coils, reverse the air flow and blow the dirt away instead.
• Don't forget to check your filter at the beginning of the cooling season. A clogged filter will use up to five percent more energy than a clean one. Remove the filter and try to look through it at a bright light. If you cannot see light easily, clean or replace the filter.
• Permanent filters can be cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions; disposable filters should be replaced every month or two while the unit is in use.
• Keep the heat out by drawing shades and curtains on hot days.
• If you have exhaust fans in your bathroom, laundry and kitchen, use them to help reduce the humidity burden on your air conditioner. These fans should not be used continuously, but periodically, as required.
• Help protect the ozone layer by repairing leaks in home and auto air conditioning systems.
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