Utilities urge customers to conserve energy during heat wave

One recommendation is set the thermostat to 78 degrees. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — Utility companies across the D.C. metro area are urging customers to conserve energy as this week’s heat wave reaches sweltering levels.

“High temperatures are expected to cause an increased demand for electricity throughout the mid-Atlantic region,” says Bob Hainey, spokesman for Pepco.

The company has labeled Wednesday a “Peak Savings Day,” which means Maryland customers who use less energy can potentially save money on their next bill.

Additionally, Maryland and D.C. customers enrolled in the company’s Energy Wise Rewards program can expect a conservation period from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. During that time, Pepco will “cycle the participants’ air conditioner compressors off and on.”

All customers are being urged to take small steps to reduce their use of electricity.

“You can use less air conditioning,” says Hainey.

“You don’t have to use your large appliances during the middle of the day. Refrain from using dryers, dish washers, things of that nature,” he says.

Dominion Virginia Power has energy-saving advice posted on its website. The company recommends setting the thermostat to 78 degrees.

“Close the blinds on the windows on the sunny side of the house,” urges Dominion’s Bob Fulton in an online video.

According to Fulton, sunlight pouring into a home can cause the air conditioning unit to work two to three times harder.

Dominion also urges customers to install ceiling fans, and when making food, to use a microwave instead of an oven.

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