Several days of 100-plus degree temperatures have kept business and residential air conditioners humming, which will result in higher summer electric bills for many Midwest Energy customers. But the customer-owned utility offers several tips customers can do now to both conserve energy and keep bills lower.
“Our budget plan is an excellent tool that can be implemented immediately,” said Bob Helm, Midwest Energy’s Manager of Corporate Communications. “Thousands of customers have chosen to pay the same average amount every month, making it easier to manage high heating and cooling bills.”
Another option is to set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures during daytime hours, when occupants are at work or on vacation. Setting your home thermostat to a moderate 76-78 degrees while at home, but raising it to 80 to 85 degrees when away for extended periods, can result in significant savings.
“It’s a myth that your air conditioner works harder than normal to cool the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been turned up, resulting in little or no savings,” said Brian Dreiling, Manager of Energy Services at Midwest Energy. “A higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, which in turn translates into energy savings on air conditioning.”
These measures equal a lower rate for Midwest Energy customers who practice energy conservation. Under the summer rates structure announced in May, residential and small commercial customers who use under 500 kilowatt hours will pay the lowest rates (under 10 cents per kWh); those using between 501-1,100 kWh will pay about 11.5 cents per kWh, while those using more than 1,100 kWh will pay about 13 cents per kWh.
Summer is also an optimal time for customers to request an energy audit under Midwest Energy’s How$mart® program, which minimizes the impact of extreme weather by providing funds to pay for efficiency improvements. Hundreds of customers have taken advantage of this program, designed so energy savings exceed program charges.
To schedule a How$mart® energy audit, contact Kay Unruh at (785) 625-1474.