CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's not uncommon for power bills to spike in the summer, as the AC units strain to keep up with the rising temperatures outside.
Duke Energy spokeswoman Meghan Musgrave says the summer months are typically when customers see their highest bills.
"We typically see energy bills spike because of the higher temperature and cooling systems need to work harder to maintain a consistent temperature inside your home," Musgrave explained.
That's why Musgrave suggests keeping your thermostat at the highest temperature possible and using ceiling fans to help circulate cool air. Customers are also advised to turn the thermostat up a few more degrees when you leave for work or for other long periods of time.
"The thermostat can be the biggest contributor to higher energy bills," Musgrave said.
Another way to keep your home cool is to keep as much heat out as possible. Keep blinds closed and drapes pulled during the day to prevent sunlight—which carries heat—from coming in. Musgrave also suggests not using appliances that give off a lot of heat while in use, like an oven.
Instead, you can cook your food on a grill outside, Musgrave said. Other appliances, like the dishwasher or dryer, are better to use at night.
The last group of power-sucking appliances Musgrave suggests to be on the look out for are less obvious. She calls them 'energy vampires'.
"Every little part helps," Musgrave explained. "Your coffee pot, chargers; these items, when not in use, are still using energy."
Duke Energy also offers several programs for customers who are having trouble keeping their home cool or paying their bill.
To help customers prepare, Duke Energy offers assistance programs, including:
- Cooling Assistance Program -- Assists the handicapped, elderly and/or low income families with energy costs associated with the extreme summer temperatures. Partner agencies distributing funds include the Share the Warmth agencies
- Operation Fan-Heat Relief – This is a way for senior citizens to have some form of cooling in their residences during the summer months.
- Helping Home Fund -- Offers free assistance for income-qualified customers to make their homes more energy efficient. Customers receive a complete home energy assessment and assistance to help save on energy bills.
- Equal Payment Plan (EPP) -- A free service that makes managing your cash flow easier by providing predictable monthly payments.