How to keep cool this summer without breaking the bank

Pepco calls for all residents to consider keeping balloons grounded during summer outdoor celebrations to limit contact with power lines. (Getty Images/Todd Warnock)

From downed trees to mylar balloons that cause power outages, crews at Pepco have been preparing for the summer ahead.

Chuck McDade, a Pepco spokesman, said that while most people know that downed trees and tree limbs can cause power outages, the problems caused by mylar balloons aren’t as well known.

McDade said mylar balloons have enough metal in them that when they come in contact with power lines, they can cause arcing, leading to outages.

So if you’re planning outdoor parties, be they graduation ceremonies or other celebrations, McDade said to consider keeping balloons grounded.

“Releasing balloons is also bad for the environment and our equipment, so that’s why we ask folks to keep them tethered,” he said.

As the demand on the power grid goes up when temperatures soar, customers are advised to conserve energy. McDade said that can include things as simple as keeping blinds closed on hot, sunny days and raising the thermostat just a bit.

He also suggested signing up for energy alerts that can send you texts, emails or even calls when your energy use spikes, helping you monitor not only your energy consumption, but also potentially lowering your bill.

“So when we get into these warmer months and you want to crank the AC up,” it will warn you that your usage is outside your average level, McDade said.

Pepco also has outage alerts. McDade said when you experience an outage, don’t assume someone else has called it in and to please notify Pepco.

“A lot of times we do know where the outages are, but if you’re calling it in, that information gets to us quicker, and we can get out there to fix it,” McDade said.

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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