Xcel Energy offers tips, programs to save on summer energy bills - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/4/10

Xcel Energy offers tips, programs to save on summer energy bills

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Xcel Energy customers are using more power to cool their homes and businesses as the outside temperatures climb, but it's still possible to hold down costs by adopting some smart energy habits and taking advantage of energy-saving tools offered by the company.

Xcel Energy provides tips and tools on saving energy through its website, www.xcelenergy.com. And for the second year, the company is offering the Saver's Switch program in Amarillo and Lubbock that offers credits of $50 or more to customers who allow control switches to be placed on central air conditioning and electric water heating units.

By selecting the residential option at xcelenregy.com, customers can access several tools and publications that empower them to maximize energy usage and save money. One tool is the Home Energy Analyzer that helps customers gauge the energy efficiency of their homes and discover how their estimated energy costs compare to homes of a similar size in the area.

The residential page also includes a link to Microsoft Hohm, a free online application to help customers better understand home energy usage and get recommendations to conserve energy while saving money.

Additionally, customers can download several online publications that provide tips for keeping home interiors cool and reducing energy demand. Customers without Internet access may contact the company to request this information through the mail.

A sampling of the tips available are:

  • Turning up air conditioner thermostats to 85 degrees when homes and offices are empty.
  • Keeping the thermostat setting at 78 degrees or higher when people are at home or at work.
  • Turning off air conditioning on cooler days.
  • Turning off unnecessary lighting, especially in stores and office buildings.
  • Unplugging appliances and electronics that aren't in use.
  • Putting off high-energy chores such as clothes washing and drying, cooking and dishwashing until after 7 p.m.

For customers in Amarillo and Lubbock who want to save more on their electricity bills, the Saver's Switch program offers incentives for allowing the company to cycle air conditioning compressors and water heaters on hot days in an effort to reduce electric demand.

At the request of the customer, an Xcel Energy contractor will install switches on central air conditioning units that receive a signal from the company to cycle the compressor on and off in 15-20-minute intervals. The switches are only operated on hot days when energy supplies are tight, and fans on the controlled units continue to operate even when the compressor is switched off.

Residential customers receive credits of $50 for each central unit enrolled in the program, as well as a $15 credit for allowing a switch to be placed on one electric water heater. Credits appear on October bills. Commercial customers receive credits of $20 per ton on of air conditioning capacity. A water heating option is not available at the commercial level.

The Saver's Switch program is still limited to Amarillo and Lubbock, but the company is hoping to expand into New Mexico later in the year. Saver's Switch is a voluntary program, and some restrictions apply. For more information on Saver's Switch, or to receive energy-saving tips through the mail, contact Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-4999.

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