Beaumont, Texas –
It’s summertime and the livin’ is hot in Southeast Texas.
temperatures combined with the area’s usual humidity-induced heat index also
means higher utility bills as residents crank up the air conditioners in search
1,000-kilowatt residential bill this year will be about $91.40, compared to last
year’s average bill of $75.80. The increase is a direct result of higher natural
In addition to offering tips to customers about how they can manage their energy
use, Entergy also takes steps to help keep utility costs down.
taking advantage of fuels other than natural gas to make electricity, such as
nuclear and coal. These fuels have prices that are more stable and predictable,
as opposed to the volatility of natural gas.
Entergy is also
working to help customers manage their electricity bills through programs such
as “Budget Billing,” which calculates a rolling average of the previous 12
months’ bills to help level out energy costs. “Pick-A-Date,” is another program
that lets customers choose which day of the month they want to pay their power
For those most in
need, low-income senior citizens, Entergy offers Project CARE, a program that
helps these customers pay energy bills up to two times a year. In its 21 years
of existence, Project CARE has paid about $3 million in energy bills for some
40,000 customers. The program is administered by charitable nonprofit agencies
throughout Southeast Texas.
with Entergy Texas say there are steps homeowners can take to keep their homes
more comfortable and make them less costly to cool. Many of those steps involve
inexpensive, easy to do projects. Customers can call a toll-free hotline,
1-800-ENTERGY or go to Entergy’s Web site, www.entergy-texas.com and find tips
on weatherizing homes and reducing electricity cost. The Web site also features
the Environmental Protection Agency’s Home Energy Advisor, an online home energy
audit packed full of energy savings tips tailored for your own home.
“We tend to think
that the only way we can make a home energy efficient is either to start from
scratch when we first build it or to spend thousands of dollars on new siding or
attic insulation,” said Vernon Pierce, Entergy Texas customer service director.
simple steps and doing them right can be very effective, too,” Pierce said.
Pierce noted that
55 percent of a homeowner’s utility bill is spent for heating and cooling, while
another 20 percent is spent on heating water. “There are a lot of things we can
do in just those two areas that will help keep the bills down,” he said.
According to Entergy officials, the five most important actions customers can
take to help manage energy use in either summer or winter include the following:
For only $10 or
$15, homeowners can purchase a water heater jacket they can install
themselves. Reports show that insulating your water heater and the pipes that
lead to and from it is the single most cost-effective improvement you can
make. Energy savings that result will pay for the jacket in just a few months
– or less.
Seal the ductwork.
In eight out of 10 houses in the
south, leaky ducts waste more energy than any other problem. To stop energy
loss, ductwork should be made airtight everywhere ducts attach to vents, each
other and the heating/cooling unit. Mastic or foil tape can do the trick, and
often needs only the homeowner’s attention.
Add attic insulation.
About half of all homes with attics have insufficient insulation. A good rule
of thumb is that if you have six inches or less of insulation you need more.
An attic should have insulation rated R-30, or six to eight inches.
Seal other air leaks.
Air infiltration from the outside is another huge energy loser. In a drafty
home, the air may “turn over” several times an hour, meaning that the home’s
entire volume of air must be reheated or recooled that often. Caulking and
weather-stripping are the keys.
Install energy-efficient light
Every home has lights and new compact fluorescent light bulbs can save a lot
of energy. They last much longer than regular incandescent bulbs. And while
they do cost more, they save enough energy to pay for themselves twice before
they burn out.
Other tips specifically for keeping cool in summer include:
AIR CONDITIONING TIPS
Raise the central air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees. Window units
should be adjusted accordingly. Each degree cooler than 78 may increase your
bill by as much as 3 percent.
Use energy efficient electric ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate
air and help occupants feel cooler.
Close window blinds, drapes and curtains to reduce warming in the home from
Check the air conditioner filter to ensure it is clean. Repeat monthly and
change the filter when necessary.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with cooler-burning fluorescent bulbs to
reduce the amount of heat created in the home.
Place window and central air
conditioning units on the shady or north side of your home when possible. When using window units, shut doors to unused
rooms and close floor or wall registers used for heating.
Install solar screens or films on
Leave storm windows and doors closed
when the air conditioner is on.
Have a professional inspect the air
conditioner and check the refrigerant level.
Do not allow cooled air to escape
from the home. Check caulking around doors and windows. Close the fireplace
damper. Fill holes and gaps where wiring and pipes enter the house and insulate
Check seals on all refrigerator and
freezer doors. Make certain they close properly and open them only when needed
and only for short periods of time.
Make sure your clothes dryer and
attic are vented properly.
Entergy customers interested in obtaining more information about energy
conservation may call Entergy Texas at 1-800-ENTERGY.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in
electric power production, retail distribution operations, energy marketing
and trading, and gas transportation. Entergy owns and operates power plants
with about 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity and it is the
second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers
electricity to 2.6 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and
Texas. Through Entergy-Koch, LP, it is also a leading provider of wholesale
energy marketing and trading services, as well as an operator of natural gas
pipeline and storage facilities. Entergy has annual revenues of over $9
billion and approximately 14,000 employees.
Entergy''s on-line address is http//: www.entergy.com.