With the prospect of more hot weather through next week, Ameren Illinois is advising customers on how to stay safe and cool while better managing their electricity usage.
“With air conditioners running almost continuously during afternoon and evening hours to keep homes, stores and offices cool, we set two new records for peak electricity demand records this week,” said Ron Pate, Ameren Illinois vice president of Operations.
The new records are: 9,502 megawatts on July 19 and 9,605 megawatts on July 21.. The previous record was 9,386 megawatts set on Aug. 7, 2007.
Typically, residential customers use more electricity during the summer months than the rest of the year. Most of this additional electricity is used to operate air conditioners and fans.
“While we work to maintain the reliability of our delivery system, we want to make certain our customers stay safe and cool while taking steps to better control their electricity usage,” Pate said. He offered these suggestions:
Turn the air conditioner’s thermostat up. For each degree you increase the temperature, you can reduce electricity use by about 3 percent.
Regularly change or wash (depending on type) air conditioner filters.
Use ceiling fans or other types of circulating fans. Circulating air feels cooler. Many people find this allows them to set the air conditioner thermostat to a higher temperature.
Keep shades, curtains and blinds closed during the day to reduce effects of solar heating.
Replace incandescent bulbs with Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).
Unlike incandescent bulbs, Energy Star qualified CFLs emit little heat and last up to 10 years.
During extremely hot weather, check on friends, neighbors and relatives who may be especially vulnerable to high temperatures, such as those who are older, have medical issues or do not have air conditioning.