MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (7/15/2019) - With temperatures across Michigan forecast to soar past 90 degrees for much of this week, Consumers Energy is advising customers to lower their electric usage or face a huge bill.
A heat wave with high temperatures at or near 90 degrees is expected over at least the next seven days. Low temperatures on Friday and Saturday mornings may only drop to the mid-70s.
Consumers Energy expects many customers will use their air conditioning 40 percent more this month than during a typical July.
“Due to the high temperatures forecasted this week, we are offering tips for customers that will help save energy and money,” said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience. “Consumers Energy is committed to helping Michiganders stay in control of their energy use and still stay comfortable, even on summer’s hottest days.”
The company is contacting customers with email, text and voice alerts with a variety of tips to keep their energy usage and electric bills from skyrocketing.
The tips include:
-- Set thermostats to 78 degrees when nobody home and higher when you’re away. Customers will typically save 1 to 3 percent on cooling costs for every degree you dial up.
-- Clean air conditioning filters regularly. Dusty filters can make the appliance work harder, wasting energy.
-- Install a smart thermostat and program it to start an air conditioner shortly before arriving home. Consumers Energy offers rebates of up to $100 on Wi-Fi enabled thermostats.
-- Seal leaks in homes. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners could save up to 30 percent on annual energy costs by doing so. Inspect and seal around doors, windows, recessed lights and attic hatches.
-- Keep cool with fans. A ceiling fan cools fast and costs less than air conditioning. An attic fan can also reduce the need for air conditioning. Make sure ceiling fans run counterclockwise, pushing air downward to cool more efficiently.
-- Close drapes, shades and blinds during the day to prevent the sun from heating homes unnecessarily. Open windows and doors in early morning and in the evening to let cooler air in.
-- Use stoves, ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers in the morning or evening when it’s cooler outside. They add extra heat to your home and make your air conditioner work harder.
-- Sign-up for the AC Peak Cycling program, which lowers the output of air conditioner units during select summer days. Customers get $32 per full year you're enrolled.
Anyone having trouble paying their Consumers Energy bill should call 1-800-477-5050 or dial 211, a free service that connects people with available resources in their community. Assistance programs and payment arrangements are available.