Energy-saving tips from Georgia Power
Consumers can save money
and energy by implementing simple energy-saving tips, according to a new
customer information campaign launched by Georgia Power. The efficiency
education campaign is designed to provide practical energy saving tips that
will help consumers stay comfortable -- and lower summer energy bills.
"Summer is right around the corner and temperatures outside will began
heating up. Now is a good time for consumers to start thinking about ways to
save on their energy bills," said Georgia Power's Doug Jones, senior vice
president of customer service and sales. "Understanding how to use energy
wisely is important for all customers, and these tips will be useful for all
customers looking for ways to save money and energy."
The campaign was developed in cooperation with the Georgia Public Service
Commission (PSC) after the PSC asked Georgia Power to increase its consumer
energy efficiency education efforts.
As a part of the PSC's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), Georgia Power
worked with the PSC and other stakeholders in developing this energy
efficiency awareness program. The IRP is a long-term strategic plan that
provides an energy demand forecast for the next 20 years, and a strategy to
provide the resources to meet that demand over the same time frame at the
lowest cost possible.
"This awareness program helps consumers understand inexpensive ways that
they can control their energy bills each month," stated Cynthia Johnson,
director of consumer affairs for the Georgia PSC. "Some consumers feel they
can't control energy rates or prices, but with these tips, they can control
their use of energy, which will save them money."
During the summer, your air conditioner is the biggest user of
electricity. For many homes, it accounts for more than half of the summer
Keep your cool:
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees F in the summer and 68
degrees F in the winter and leave it there. You can
immediately realize a 3 percent to 5 percent decrease in energy use for
every degree you adjust the thermostat above or below your normal
- Set the thermostat even higher when at work or away from home for long
periods of time, but no more than five degrees higher.
- Change or clean your air conditioner filter regularly to maximize the
unit's cooling potential. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce
- Adjust your ceiling fan to turn clockwise in the summer.
- Check your windows and doors for a tight fit. Apply weather stripping
or caulking if needed.
- Clear outside units of plants or brush so they can "breathe."
- Increase attic insulation, which can save up to 30 percent on cooling
and heating costs.
- Insulation is measured in R-value, which is a measure of resistance to
heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation value.
- Experts recommend you use an R-value of R-30 in ceiling areas.
- Use fans whenever possible. Install ceiling fans (clockwise rotation)
in the rooms you use most.
- Purchase a higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) rated unit
when replacing cooling equipment or a heat pump. The higher the SEER,
the more efficient the unit. Currently, experts recommend a 12 SEER or
Cool kitchen tips:
- Whenever possible, cook a lot of dishes at the same time. This uses
less energy than when you cook each item separately.
- If you're baking, avoid opening the oven door. This lets out 20 percent
of the heat. Use a cooking timer instead.
- Use pots and pans that match the size of the burners on your stove.
This allows more heat to the pan and less heat will be lost to
- Try to use the range instead of the oven. Or better yet, turn on the
microwave or use a pressure cooker. Both use less power than a standard
Using the refrigerator:
- Refrigerators run all the time. But if you don't watch how you use and
maintain them, you could increase your power bill.
- Choose the right size refrigerator for your needs. Larger models use
more energy. Open and close the refrigerator door quickly. Know what
you want before opening the door.
- Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Check it by
closing a piece of paper in the door, half in and half out. If you can
pull the paper out easily, you may need to make some adjustments or
replace the seal.
- Keep your food covered. Moisture buildup in the refrigerator makes the
air inside harder to cool.
- It's convenient and quick, but running the dishwasher all the time can
add up on the power bill.
- Run the dishwasher, dryer and the stove after the sun goes down to
avoid adding heat to your house during the hottest part of the day.
- When using the dishwasher, turn off the drying cycle if you don't need
dishes right away.
- Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it. Partial loads use
just as much water and power as a full load.
- Scrape dishes before loading them into the dishwasher so you don't have
to rinse them. If they need rinsing, use cold water.
- You've heard it before, but one of the best ways to save energy is to
turn off lights when you're not using them. Never leave too many on
when you're away from home.
- Use fluorescent lighting when possible. They last about five times
longer than incandescent lamps. And they can produce four times more
light than standard incandescent, for the same amount of energy.
- Use one large bulb instead of several small ones in areas where bright
light is needed.
- Use smaller lamps in works areas, like sewing areas, computer desks, so
you don't light the entire room.
- Do some decorating. Lighter colored walls, drapes, blinds and
upholstery reflect light. Dark colors absorb heat and require more
This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.