Tips on saving energy as air conditioning units work overtime in extreme Mississippi heat

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Monday, 4-County Electric Power Association shared tips and strategies to cut down on electricity use to help balance out the high demand for air conditioning.

“When we get extreme temperatures like we’re seeing, you get record amounts of demand,” says Jon Turner, manager of public relations and marketing for 4-County.

The Tennessee Valley Authority provides power to over 9 million customers across the South, and throughout that coverage area this week, heat indices are expected to be in the neighborhood of 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I keep my AC at 65 degrees and I drink a lot of water. A lot of cold water,” says Starkville resident Uriah Howard.

Turner says that while there is no threat to the power grid, they are asking their customers to take steps to make sure it stays that way.

“We’re asking folks to voluntarily do some things to help reduce the strain on the grid,” he says. “That includes simple things like unplugging appliances, turning up your thermostat a little bit.”

Turner says that adjusting the thermostat when the home is empty can have a significant impact.

“For God’s sake, don’t turn it off,” he says. “If you can bump that thermostat up from 70 to 73 or 75, that’d be great.”

By using a ceiling fan, a person can also raise the thermostat up to four degrees without feeling a difference, according to Starkville Utilities.

“You might think about moving your more energy-intense chores, like doing laundry or cooking to later in the evening or earlier in the morning,” Turner says. “To avoid that strain on the system (between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.).”

Turner says these energy-saving tips can also help with the strain on customers’ wallets.

“High power demand right now could mean higher bills down the road because TVA is having to purchase extra power from outside their system,” he says.

And going without air conditioning is not an option.

“No, it’s super hot and then you just like, you go crazy,” Brown says.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for each degree someone raises the thermostat above 72, they can save up to 3 percent on cooling expenses.

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