Tips, programs from electric companies to save in hot weather

WASHINGTON — When the temperatures soar, area utilities say, there are ways you can save on your energy costs.

Justin Mulcahy, communications manager with Baltimore Gas and Electric, explained that between the hours of 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., all customers who have smart meters and reduce their energy consumption can get a break on their bills. “If you reduce your electric usage, you get a bill credit of about $1.25 for every kilowatt hour saved during those hours.”

The program is called Energy Savings Days, and they’re scheduled when demand for electricity is predicted to be especially high due to soaring temperatures.

Pepco has what it calls Peak Savings Days, which run between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and, like the BGE program, customers can get a bill credit of $1.25 for every kilowatt hour of reduced usage below their average.

Both utilities offer tips on saving energy throughout the summer months. Pepco’s Marcus Beale said, “You can save money by doing a few small things: Make sure doors and windows are closed, blinds are closed; ceiling fans certainly help.”

Mulcahy, at BGE, says consumers are also encouraged to bump their thermostat up a few degrees with one caveat; if their health allows for it. “If you’re in a situation where you have some health concerns, that’s probably not the best thing for you,” said Mulcahy.

Both utilities have other programs designed to help customers keep cooling costs low while conserving energy. “We also have a program that customers can sign up for called Energy Wise Rewards,” said Pepco’s Beale.

A small piece of hardware is installed at the customer’s home. “It cycles your air conditioner on Peak Savings Days. Your fan will remain on, but your air conditioner will be cycled on and off to generate some savings as well,” Beale said.

BGE has a similar plan, called the Peak Rewards Air Conditioning program, in addition to the Energy Savings Days.

“If you participate in both programs, you’re going to receive whichever credit is greater,” said Mulcahy.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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