Tips for saving money on your power bill during record-breaking heat
Chattanooga reached an all-time record high temperature for the month of October on Wednesday at 100 degrees, and the month of September finished with nine broken or tied daily high temperature records.
Unfortunately, with the high heat comes high utility bills due to extra power usage; however, there are some easy tips you can follow to get the most value out of your energy use.
With this in mind, Wednesday was Energy Efficiency Day. EPB and the city of Chattanooga celebrated by setting up a pop-up booth downtown.
EPB workers gave out free LED light bulbs, outlet insulators, reusable bags, and energy saving tips to the people who stopped by.
They highlighted five simple steps to follow.
First, replace incandescent light bulbs, which produce more heat than light, with LED bulbs.
"You could use probably six LED light bulbs equivalent to one incandescent bulb. Plus, the life expectancy is outrageous, like 20 years for some of these bulbs," Ronald Jones, Energy Audit Expert at EPB said.
Second, adjust your thermostat to 5 degrees higher when you're away.
Third, set your water heater to 120 degrees.
Fourth, use power strips, so you can easily flip a switch to cut off power to devices that are not in use.
Lastly, change your air filter.
"Without the proper air filter being clean in there, it's like putting your hand over your nose trying to breathe. So it makes your unit work harder," explained Jones.
EPB also offers free in-home energy checkups for both renters and homeowners at no cost.
An EPB spokesperson says that this record-breaking heat is hard on everyone.
"The heat definitely makes every bit of a difference when it comes to our power bills and how high they are," said B.J. Pierce, an energy expert at EPB.
If you don't want your bill to fluctuate from month to month, you can sign up for EPB's Levelized Billing Program. It is a 12-month rolling average of your past bills, giving you a consistent monthly statement.
"It doesn't necessarily save them money, but it does help them to be able to plan what their bill is going to be each month. When they call us, we'll give them what their levelized payment would be each month," said Pierce.
If you've lived here less than 12 months or are struggling to pay your bill, help is available. EPB makes payment arrangements.
"We're here to help. Give us a call. We'll be happy to see what other options we can offer in order to help them through these hot days, but hopefully the cooler days are coming soon. We're looking forward to it," Pierce said laughing.
Malinda Hunter, with TVA Public Relations, also told Channel 3 that Tuesday October 1st was the second highest October power load in TVA's 86-year history.
Additionally, power demand went over 28,000 megawatts in September 9 times, which is the most for any September.
Hunter added that despite the hot, dry conditions, they still have water stored and are able to meet water quality and supply requirements.