January’s extreme cold meant high demand for electricity - Carolina Country
February 2018

In an average year, Brunswick Electric members use the most electricity in February, traditionally the coldest month of the year for our service territory. But this year the extremely cold temperatures in early January, including snow and ice when Winter Storm Grayson went through our area, were cold enough that we hit our peak demand for electricity early. That’s not to say we won’t hit it again in February though. So what does this mean for you, a BEMC member?

Peak demand for electricity occurs when everyone is using a lot of electricity at the same time – often we see this between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. when many people start getting ready for work or school and use hot water, turn on the TV, etc., and again in the evening after people get home and start cooking dinner. When it’s extremely cold outside people will often turn up the thermostat to stay warm. When every house in the area is using more energy this way it puts greater demand on our system as a whole. While BEMC has the resources to meet this peak demand so that you have power 99.92 percent of the time, you may find that you’re using more kilowatt hours on a daily basis, which could result in a higher bill the next month.

If you’re concerned about how much energy you’re using this winter, we encourage you to download the SmartHub app to keep tabs on your daily usage, and use the tips we’ve provided below to make small changes that will help reduce your overall energy consumption.

Low-cost ways to stay warmer & save

Thermostat – make small adjustments. With a heat pump, big moves to adjust the settings can backfire, causing the unit to work less efficiently. That can increase your costs. It’s more efficient to make smaller adjustments in heat settings instead — such as lowering the temperature just 1° or 2° instead of 10°.

Water heater – lower the setting. Hot water is a big energy user. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your water heater’s thermostat set at 120°. Anything higher is unnecessary. Every 10-degree reduction in your water heater’s thermostat can shave 3% to 5% off your bill.

Attic door – insulate. Even if your attic is insulated, it’s easy to overlook the attic door. Add a layer of insulation to the inside of the door to prevent heated air from rising into the attic.

Furnace filters – change monthly. Replace furnace filters regularly — even monthly, depending on the type you buy and how much the furnace is running. Read your appliance’s manual to find the replacement schedule and type, as well as installation instructions.

Ceiling fans – push warm air down.  Most ceiling fans have a switch so you can set the blades to push the warm air near the ceiling down toward the floor. This switch is likely on the body of the fan.

Want another way to keep your energy use to a minimum during cold snaps? Try Brunswick Electric's SmartHub app.

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