SAN ANTONIO - As freezing temperatures are projected to continue in the overnight hours through the remainder of the week, CPS Energy is urging power conservation.
In fact, CPS Energy reported 4,300 megawatts of energy usage Wednesday morning, which is a record. The utility is currently set up to offer 5,000 megawatts for San Antonio customers.
The chief concern, CPS Energy said, is that San Antonio residents may receive very high energy bills next month. In addition, the higher the thermostat setting, the harder the unit will work to maintain the desired temperature setting.
CPS Energy's Casa Verde program is a free program that offers assistance to low income families who want to weatherize their homes. Crews will head out to eligible houses and work to make them air tight.
"If you take up all the different areas in the home where air could come in and you add it all up, its equivalent to a 2x3 hole in the side of your house. So imagine if you have a 2x3 hole cut out in the side of your home. How much cold air would come into your home," said John Moreno of CPS Energy.
Linda Massiatte tried to patch up holes along doors and windows and knew her home needed better insulation, but being on a fixed income wasn't helping.
"They kind of caulked every part where air would come in. They caulked and fixed our air conditioning unit. The doors. And then they ran some kind of machine to see if there was any air coming in," said Massiatte.
CPS said 17,000 San Antonio families have taken advantage of the program since it first began in 2009. Saving both energy and money on monthly energy bills.
"It went from about $250 to, I want to say $160," said Massiatte. "Now you don't feel it. The air conditioning doesn't have to be running for the house to get warm. Before it wouldn't stop and now it does."
CPS Energy recommends customers monitor high demand appliances such as electric furnaces and space heaters. The utility recommends the following, particularly during peak demand hours:
- Set the thermostat to 68 degrees during day and 65 degrees overnight.
- Use ceiling fans at lowest setting and in reverse mode to circulate warm air that is trapped near the ceiling.
- Limit use of appliances with high energy consumption, i.e. washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and water heaters.
- Turn off electrical appliances and unplug chargers not in use.
- Turn off portable electrical heaters and lights when not needed or in empty rooms.
- Layer clothing for extra comfort.
- Seal any holes or gaps with towels or other material to keep out cold air and prevent heat from escaping. Make long-term repairs as soon as possible.
CPS Energy also offered the following safety tips:
- Do not use a natural gas stove as a heat source for your home.
- Ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
- If using a natural gas space heater, open a nearby window at least 1-inch to ventilate the room and lower the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- For more tips visit: cpsenergy.com search winter safety tips.