Home Energy conservation Higher CPS energy bills will follow this week’s heatwave

Higher CPS energy bills will follow this week’s heatwave

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Triple-digit temperatures mean all sorts of inconveniences, including, for most people, higher energy bills.

That’s because air conditioning isn’t designed to cool homes beyond what some call the “20-degree differential,” or about 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature.

When air conditioners are tasked with bridging a larger gap – say from 101 degrees outside to 76 degrees inside the house – they tend to just run continuously in an attempt to get there, which has as a side effect of increasing electricity bills. And since air conditioning can account for almost half of a residential electricity bill, according to CPS Energy, this increase can be significant.

CPS Energy spokeswoman Christine Patmon said that after every heat wave, customers call CPS Energy to find out why their bills are higher, even though they haven’t changed their thermostat settings. In 2020, she wrote a blog post about how the 20-degree differential can affect AC performance and bills — and to remind customers that there are ways to mitigate those higher costs.

In her post, she linked to several other blog posts, all from air conditioning companies across the United States, which essentially explain the same thing: no, your air conditioner isn’t broken because it’s not cooling like hell. habit. It’s just not designed for such extreme temperatures.

With San Antonio facing several more days — OK, probably a whole summer — of extreme heat, now is a good time to review conservation measures that can lower your bill:

  • Set your thermostat between 78 and 80 degrees. Turn it up 2-3 degrees when you leave the house. “Raising the thermostat really makes a difference,” Patmon said.
  • Use fans to feel cooler. Make sure they spin the right way: In the summer, fans should spin counter-clockwise, so the air blows downward.
  • Change your AC air filter every two weeks during the summer.
  • Close your curtains and blinds in the morning and leave them closed during the hottest part of the day.
  • Install sunscreens on windows to reduce heat from the sun.
  • Take advantage of CPS Energy’s My Energy portal, which displays a customer’s energy usage in near real-time and includes a comprehensive library of conservation tips.

While these tips will help mitigate the effects of extreme temperatures on energy bills, CPS Energy also regularly asks customers to conserve energy to help stabilize the state’s power grid.

A power saving guide informs customers about power consumption under a variety of power scenarios. Credit: Courtesy / CPS Energy

This week, the utility launched a new color-coded retention level program. It’s aligned with the City of San Antonio’s “Beat the Heat” education campaign, which highlights the dangers of heat and precautions to stay safe during heat waves like the current one. in the city.

Under the new program, San Antonio is experiencing a series of “yellow” days, signifying “peak energy demand.” CPS Energy’s social media posts ask residents to conserve power between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., when demand is highest. Depending on the color-coded chart, this could mean, in addition to the conservation tips outlined above, not using major appliances or charging an electric vehicle until dark.

Most days that are not hot will be “green” days. Amber and red alerts will only be issued when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s grid operator, declares that grid reliability is at risk.

CPS Energy financially supports the San Antonio report. For a complete list of member companies, click here.