If last weekend’s hot weather has proved nothing else, it’s summer. For some, summer sparks the thought of surfing, beach days, and afternoon bike rides. For others, high temperatures mean rising energy bills as air conditioners crank up and refrigerators work hard to keep pace. And for many, summer can even mean wildfires or power shortages.
This summer will be especially interesting in Southern California. Just last month Southern California Edison (SCE) announced that they would not reopen the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). Regardless of your opinion on nuclear power, it cannot be denied that SONGS was a major source of baseload power for the region.
While SCE is securing new generation and upgrading transmission, it is up to us to decrease our energy use through conservation and efficiency. SCE is even rewarding businesses and residents monetarily for reducing energy use this summer. Businesses can check out the demand response programs and residents can earn as much as $100 a year in bill credits through the Save Power Day Incentives.
Both programs essentially reward consumers for reducing electricity use on hot days during peak hours (primarily from 2:00pm to 6:00pm). However, it’s important to note that if you are enrolled in the Save Power Day Incentive program and you increase energy use when SCE asks you to reduce, you will be charged more than normal.
Below are some of my favorite ways to trim my energy bill when the temperatures rise:
- Use a fan instead of air conditioning. Remember that fans cool people not room, so be sure to turn off the fan when you leave the room.
- Unplug electronics like your TV and desktop computer at the source or use a power strip. Electronics use energy, even when in the ‘power off’ mode.
- Eliminate your extra refrigerator – SCE will even pay you to do this.
- Postpone house duties, such as dishes and laundry, until after dark. Procrastination never felt so good.
- Hit the beach. Before you leave the house, draw the blinds to keep out the sun’s hot rays. Then head to the beach where the air temperature is cooler and the Pacific Ocean is just steps away when you need to cool off. Conservation at its finest.
For more information on how to make your home summer ready check out the CEC Get Started guides on Home Conservation and Home Performance. You’ll find many simple ways to make your home more efficient, healthy, and comfortable.