Dominion Urges Customers To Use Caution, Conserve Energy During Prolonged Heat Wave
* Take special care with elderly, pets
* Simple tips can save money
RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion Virginia Power is urging customers to use all means necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones during the current heat wave and to conserve electricity wherever possible. The company is expressing particular concern for older citizens, those who are ill and others who are most vulnerable to the effects of extreme temperatures and high humidity.
With temperatures and humidity expected to remain extremely high for the next several days, electricity use is projected to be high. Dominion and PJM, the regional transmission organization to which Dominion belongs, have adequate supplies of electricity to meet demand.
While Dominion expects to be able to meet the demand, it also is asking customers to use energy wisely. During times of extremely hot weather, residential electricity usage can soar, leading to higher bills. Home energy conservation helps to ensure there is enough electricity to meet all customers’ needs. Conservation also reduces electric bills.
These tips can help lower electric bills and energy usage while keeping homes comfortable:
* Postpone activities that require hot water – such as washing dishes or clothes – to early morning or late evening. This will avoid adding more heat and humidity to your home.
* Avoid using your stove if possible.
* Raise the temperature setting on the thermostat. You can save 7 percent on cooling costs for every degree of increase above 78º.
* Turn off unnecessary lights during hot weather. They add to the heat in the home. Consider switching to cooler, energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs where light is needed.
* Use ceiling fans and portable floor fans to move the air around in the home. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing down. Fans should turn counter-clockwise in summer. If the home does not have air conditioning, fans are essential for cooling. In homes with air conditioning, fans enable residents to raise the thermostat and save energy without affecting comfort.
* Close drapes during the hottest times of the day to block heat from entering the home, to save energy. Sunny windows account for 40 percent of unwanted heat and make air conditioners work two or three times harder.
* Make sure window air conditioners are sized correctly. Ones that are too small will run constantly but not cool the room. Ones that are too large use more energy than necessary.
* Clean filters to window air conditioning units and clean or replace filters to central air-conditioning systems. Clogged filters cause air conditioners to use more energy than necessary to keep a home cool.
* Clear attic vents. If the home has an attic fan, make sure it functions properly.
The company is urging all residents – especially the elderly and young children – to take precautions when going out in the heat, drink plenty of water, and limit outdoor activities.
Dominion, in conjunction with the Virginia Department for the Aging, provides box fans through the Fan Care program to older Virginians who need help cooling their homes. Older residents who need such assistance are encouraged to call the Department for the Aging toll free at 1-800-552-3402 or contact their local Area Agency on Aging office. For additional information on cooling assistance from the state, visit: http://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/ea/cooling/index.html
To stay safe in hot weather, Dominion urges everyone to:
* Avoid strenuous outdoor activity. If you must work outside, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids. Do not wait until you are thirsty.
* Stay indoors in a cool place, especially during the afternoon when temperatures are highest.
* If you must go outdoors, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Try to wear natural products such as cotton and avoid synthetics.
* Be especially sensitive to pets, allowing them to stay inside as often as possible and keep them hydrated with plenty of water.
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