Energy awareness during cold weather: keeping warm without stressing utilities

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COLUMBUS, OHIO — The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today urged the state’s residents to be mindful of their use of electricity and natural gas during extreme cold weather expected this week.

An ongoing cold snap has significantly increased the demand for electricity and natural gas. Energy demand in Ohio is expected to peak on Tuesday and Wednesday, when overnight temperatures across most of the state are expected to drop below zero.

Related: Staying warm during cold weather

Anticipating what could be extremely low temperatures and high energy demand, the PUCO is calling on consumers to be aware of energy usage and its impact on natural gas and electric bills.

“Using energy efficiently will help ensure that adequate supplies of electricity and natural gas are available to all consumers when they will need power and heat most,” said PUCO Chairman Todd A. Snitchler. “Maximizing energy efficiency this week will also help consumers reduce their utility bills during what may well be one of the highest energy consumption periods of the year.”

Consumers can reduce their energy use and help save money on their utility bills by following some simple tips:

  • Set thermostats as low as appropriate to maintain health and comfort.
  • Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m., when the demand for electricity decreases.
  • Limit use of natural gas appliances during early morning hours.
  • Turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.
  • Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible. This includes overhead doors on attached garages.
  • Seal off unheated, unused rooms.
  • Open south-facing window curtains, drapes and blinds during the day. Close them at night to keep the heat in.
  • Take extreme care when using space heaters. Make sure they are placed away from combustible materials and, if necessary, properly vented to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

The PUCO has worked with utilities in Ohio to develop payment plan billing and other forms of energy assistance to help mitigate the volatility and impacts associated with high energy bills. For more information, and to determine if you qualify for forms of energy assistance, please contact your utility provider directly.

Related: Tips for driving on winter roads

Despite the increased demand for energy, Ohio utilities are well prepared to respond to the extreme cold weather. The companies have completed inspections and assessments of key substations, points of delivery and other utility equipment. Utility crews are standing by to quickly restore service should the weather cause any outages.

More information on energy efficiency and being prepared for a possible outage is available on the PUCO website here.

Consumers should contact their local utility if they experience an outage or other emergency:

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