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Extreme Temps Impact Power Bill...

Even if You Don't Touch the Thermostat

With the extremely cold temperatures we’ve experienced so far this winter, your heating unit has been working overtime to keep your home at a comfortable 68 degrees or higher depending on your preference. Your heating and cooling unit is made to function at an optimum temperature of 65 degrees. At the most, it is able to change the temperature inside your home 20 degrees. So when the temperature is in the 20’s with a wind chill of 10 degrees, your HVAC unit is working harder than normal to keep your house at the desired temperature inside. This means you are using a lot more electricity than usual whether you touch the thermostat or not.

We recommend setting the thermostat to 68 degrees but on extremely cold days like we’re experiencing now, if you can lower it even two or three degrees (program it to 65 degrees while you’re at work) it will give your heating unit (and your wallet) a little break.

Because of the cold weather we've had in January, we expect to see higher than normal power bills. If you know you are going to have a hard time paying your bill, please call the office at 770-358-1383 and speak to a Customer Service Representative as soon as you get your bill to discuss the possibility of making an arrangement. But please do not wait until you are on the cut-off list to call and ask for an extension. We are more than willing to work with our members any way we can but once your account is in danger of being disconnected or we have already dispatched an employee to disconnect it for non-payment, we cannot make an arrangement.

Here are a few statistics from the recent Atlanta Climatological Data produced by the Atlanta Weather Bureau for the months of November and December:

  • November 2017 required 26% more heating than November 2016 and 175% more than October. 
  • December required 13% more heating than last December and 94% more than November.
  • There were 16 days in December that were colder than normal.

Pay close attention to all of the indicators on your thermostat's screen to make sure it is not running in emergency heat mode for an extended period of time. Once the outside temperature drops below freezing the auxiliary heating (heat strips) will come on to assist and should cut back off after a period of time. Try only changing the temperature on the thermostat in two degree increments to reduce the amount of time the auxiliary heat runs.

Here’s a short checklist to help you weather these winter temps:

  • Are you changing your filters each month?
  • Have you had your heating and cooling unit serviced recently to be sure everything is working properly?
  • Are you using your ceiling fans (in reverse mode on low) to help circulate the warm air? 
  • Are you opening your curtains/blinds during the day to soak up the heat from the sun and then closing them at dark to trap the heat from the day?
  • Have you sealed up all the cracks in your home that may be letting in cold air?

These are just a few things that can help reduce your energy usage but you can find out more detailed and customized information about where you can cut your usage by taking an online energy audit using Touchstone Energy's Home Efficiency Analysis Tool. You might be surprised where your money is going!

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