Charlotte J. Cavell
Simple measures like sealing leaks around doors or windows can go a long way
NEW ORLEANS -- "Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…" While the lyrics to this popular holiday tune make winter weather sound wonderful, we all know that it can be quite challenging. And we also know that it's an important factor in determining just how high or low your winter energy bill may be.
Although we're currently experiencing warmer temperatures, it won't be long before the mercury starts to drop and you'll crank up your heater to keep the chill at bay. Entergy wants to remind you of helpful energy-saving tips so you can stay warm and cozy while keeping your wallet happy.
"These mild days are an ideal time to take some simple measures so the cold air will stay outside where it belongs," said Melonie Stewart, director of customer service. "Something as easy as sealing leaks around your doors or windows can go a long way in making your home energy efficient."
Heating and air conditioning can account for as much as 55 percent of your monthly electric bill. Setting the thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter is an easy way to reduce how much energy you use. Every degree above 68 on the thermostat can increase your bill by about 3 percent. So if you crank it up to a toasty 78 degrees, you've already added 30 percent.
Other tips include:
· Keep all doors and windows closed when the heat is on.
· Open drapes to let warm sunlight in during the day. Close them at night to reduce heat loss.
· Do not block heat registers or air returns with curtains or furniture.
· Check air and furnace filters every 30 days or as required by the type of filter. Clean or replace them as needed.
· Conserve hot water. Wrap your electric water heater with a water heater blanket and set the thermostat to 120 degrees or medium.
· Close the damper on fireplaces when not in use.
When you change your light bulbs, replace them with energy-efficient models. Entergy recommends Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs that use 70 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Set the thermostat back to 55 degrees if away from home for several days.
More tips, as well as clear, do-it-yourself videos, to help put these ideas to work can be found at entergy.com/savemoney. Orleans Parish customers can also visit Energy Smart, a New Orleans program that offers incentives and rebates on a variety of energy-efficiency upgrades year-round. Customers in surrounding parishes should visit EntergySolutionsLA.com for the program in their area.
"Now is also a good time to sign up for Level Billing to help eliminate the spikes extreme temperatures can bring," Stewart added. "The program calculates your billing history over the previous 12 months and allows you to pay an average amount each month. This is extremely helpful in managing your budget."
Other convenient payment options include:
· Pick-A-Date, which allows customers to choose the date when their bills are due.
· Automatic Monthly Payments, which save customers the trouble of writing and mailing checks.
Entergy also assists elderly and disabled low-income customers through its customer-assistance fund, The Power to Care. The fund is administered by the local Councils on Aging and is funded by Entergy employees, customers and shareholders. To find out how to get assistance, or to contribute to the fund, visit entergy.com or check the donation box on your monthly bill.
What's more, Entergy has partnered with the American Red Cross in a two-year, $450,000 contribution to support disaster response in Entergy communities. The grant streamlines the response process in times of disaster, allowing funds to be funneled more quickly to those in need. Although our communities were not affected by a major storm during the 2015 hurricane season, weather can create havoc at any given time -- summer or winter. Entergy is committed to creating value for our communities by better preparing them for potential disasters and helping to facilitate recovery.
"We're helping the American Red Cross by powering lives," said Patty Riddlebarger, Entergy's director of corporate social responsibility. "Not only do we restore power in times of disaster, but we meet critical needs identified by the Red Cross. Food, water, shelter and medical services are crucial to the restoration process."
Entergy New Orleans, Inc. is an electric and gas utility that serves Louisiana's Orleans Parish. The company provides electricity to more than 194,000 customers and natural gas to some 105,000 customers. Entergy New Orleans is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation.
Entergy Louisiana, LLC provides electric service to more than 1 million customers and natural gas service to nearly 93,000 customers in the greater Baton Rouge area. With operations in southern, central and northeastern Louisiana, the company is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation's leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $12 billion and approximately 13,000 employees.