Heat turned up on power customers

Published 7:18 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2011

With low temperatures this winter, Chilton County residents are being hit in the pockets when it comes to their power bills.

In order to keep from being cold, and penniless, keep the thermostat at 68 degrees or below in the winter, only wash dishes and clothes if you have a full load and keep all filters clean, said Corey Davis, of Central Alabama Electric Co-Op.

Buying energy saving light bulbs and appliances will also cut down on the amount of electricity used.

Ceiling fans cannot only be used and cost effective in summer, but in the winter as well.

“Most ceiling fans are also designed to be reversible for winter operation,” said Jan Ellis, public information representative, Southern Division. “In this mode, room air is pulled from floor level, circulated through the warmer air near the ceiling, and directed back down toward the floor level. This mode of operation allows the warmer ceiling air to be directed downward without blowing directly on the occupants.”

It is important to check home for airflow by inspecting all windows, doors, cracks and insulation in the attic to make sure you are not losing energy.

Your water heater is the second-largest energy user in your home. By insulating your electric water heater and using hot water efficiently, you will save energy and money each month, said Ellis.

Also, close the sink drain when shaving, when hand washing dishes, stopper the sing or use a dishpan, equip your shower with a flow control regulator, repair dripping faucets and turn down the thermostat on your water heater.

Central Alabama Electric Co-Op is currently performing energy audits for customers who call and have questions regarding their bills.

Alabama Power and Central Alabama Electric Co-Op have programs that customers can request if they are having difficulties maintaining their monthly power bill.

Central Alabama Electric Co-Op offers levelized billing, prepaid power and project share.

“Levelized billing is for a customer who has had service with us for six months to a year and is in good standing,” said Davis. “We take the 12 month average and that is what the customer pays each month. It might fluctuate a little per month, but it helps the customer pay around the same amount all year.”

The prepaid power program is like a prepaid cell phone, Davis said.

The customer’s meter is read every day and is only able to use what they paid for in advance. Once the use on the account gets low, the person is notified via phone call or text to refill the account before it reaches a zero balance.

Project SHARE, offered by Alabama Power and Central Alabama Electric Co-Op, is a program that provides emergency assistance to elderly and disabled neighbors who need help with energy bills. Customers in need can apply for the program at their county American Red Cross.

Customers can also monitor their accounts and daily usage online.

For more tips on how to save energy and money visit www.alabamapower.com and www.caec.coop/cms/.