The City of San Saba announced today that its customers can expect higher prices for electricity in the coming year, beginning as early as July. LCRA officials are considering raising current electric rates approximately 1 cent per kilowatt hour in response to an expected fuel rate increase. The LCRA will ask its Board of Directors to raise its electric rates to keep up with rapidly rising natural gas costs.
“Natural gas prices have increased by more than 35 percent since last fall,” said Stan Weik, City Manager. “Everyone is feeling it, from the gas pump to the electric meter. Since we are cost-based, unfortunately additional expenses like these are passed through to our customers.”
“We wanted to let our customers know as soon as possible that this is coming,” said Stan Weik. “Not only are we expecting a hot summer, but the natural gas market is forecasted to remain high throughout the next 12 months.”
Listed below are several ideas on ways to keep your electricity bills down.
What can I do to keep my electricity bills down?
Indeed, this is the beginning of summer and the hottest time of the year – the hardest time to conserve energy. However, by trying these tips, you may be able to save money by using less energy:
· Set the air conditioning thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Save more by raising the setting to 85 degrees when you’re out for at least four hours.
· Use ceiling fans or portables. Moving air feels four to six degrees cooler.
· Block the sun. Save on cooling costs by closing drapes during the day or adding energy-efficient windows. Solar screens on west-facing windows also keep the sun at bay.
· Ventilate the attic. Proper ventilation reduces temperature and prevents moisture buildup, so the air conditioner does not have to work as hard.
· Turn off or replace lights. Most energy from incandescent bulbs becomes heat. Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75 to 80 percent less energy and produce less heat.
· Zap it. Use the microwave rather than the oven if you do cook. Consider chilled foods, too. Add shade. Add trees and shrubs on the east, west and south sides to cut cooling costs. Shade air conditioning units, but leave room for air to flow.
· Program it. Install a programmable thermostat, and set it to cool the house before you get there. Save up to 15 percent on cooling costs.
· Stop leaks into and out of the home. Check your ducts for leaks, and seal them with mastic tape if needed. Caulk and weather-strip windows, doors and pipe clearances. A few dollars here can save 10 percent on cooling costs.
· Insulate attic, walls and crawl space. Higher R-values keep more cool air in during summer and warm air in during winter.
· Let air flow. Clean or replace air filters regularly for efficient air exchange.
· Add trees and shrubs for year-round benefits. Deciduous trees that lose their leaves provide shade in summer and let the sun warm your home during winter. Evergreens on the north side offer a windbreak during winter. Don’t plant near power lines.
· Give “old faithful” a checkup. Have a licensed air conditioning contractor check to make sure your unit is in good condition for summer. If necessary, replace the unit with a newer, more efficient model.