Tucson recently sweated through the hottest June on record. It was also the month that Tucson Electric Power customers set not one but two new energy use records as air conditioners strained to provide relief from hot, dry weather.
Demand on TEP’s local grid peaked at 2,406 megawatts (MW) between 3 and 4 p.m. on June 21, setting a new system record. Daily energy use peaked on June 20, when customers used more than 42 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) over 24 sweltering hours. These usage peaks occurred during a record-setting nine -day stretch when Tucson temperatures exceeded 100 every day and never dropped below the 80s.
The hot weather will lead to higher bills for most TEP customers. In higher outdoor temperatures, home cooling systems must use more energy to maintain the same indoor temperature, even if the thermostat is left at one setting all the time.
Higher summer electric bills reflect rates that recover most of TEP’s fixed service costs through energy use charges. TEP’s pricing plans offer many ways for customers to reduce their bills by managing their energy consumption, particularly during peak usage periods.
To help manage summertime cooling costs, try these simple tips:
- Set thermostats at the highest comfortable temperature. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting thermostats at 78 degrees in the summer, although individual preferences may vary. For every degree you raise your thermostat, you can reduce your overall energy costs by about 2-3 percent.
- Use ceiling or oscillating fans to keep air moving so you feel cooler without increasing air conditioner use.
- Use shades, blinds or curtains to keep sunlight out, especially during the afternoon in rooms facing west.
- Don’t block vents or ducts inside the house. Maintaining clear air paths allows your cooling system to work more efficiently. Keep exterior doors and windows closed when running the air conditioner.
- More energy-saving tips are available at tep.com/tips.
Summer is also a good time to sign up for TEP’s Budget Billing program. Participants pay the same amount each month based on their annual electric use, eliminating any “summer surprises” due to increased warm-weather consumption.