Utilities offer incentives to reduce energy use amid heat wave

Utilities offer incentives to reduce energy use amid heat wave

As the heat wave drags on in New Hampshire, so do concerns about energy costs, especially during peak hours of use.Utility officials said electricity demand peaks from 4-7 p.m., when people get home from work and crank up their air conditioners. They said there are ways to save money and ease the stress on the electrical grids while still staying comfortable.Officials said shifting the air conditioner or thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can cut energy costs by as much as 10% per year. Dehumidifiers help lower costs because the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.Other advice includes changing the air conditioner filter, using a ceiling fan, closing the blinds during the day, using a clothesline instead of the dryer and cooking on the grill.”Try not to use your dishwasher tonight if you don’t have to. Wait until later in the evening,” said William Hinkle, of Eversource. “Try not to run your laundry machine or your dryer, things like that.”Smart wireless thermostats can also help optimize energy use, officials said.Eversource offers a demand-response program to residential and business ratepayers, targeted to hours of peak demand. “They’ll get a notice on a particularly hot day like today, and if they opt into the demand-response program and they curtail their use or reduce their energy use, we will provide an incentive to them,” Hinkle said.The cost of energy is highest during the mid- to late afternoon.”That’s when solar energy is starting to come off the grid,” said Alec O’Meara, of Unitil. “The sun is lower in the sky, but it’s still real hot out, so people are still using their AC.”Because utilities set rates every six months based on the previous six months, officials said saving energy now can have benefits later.”If we as a region can lower those peak energy usage times, it has the potential to lower energy costs down the road,” O’Meara said.Utility officials said the region relies on fossil fuels for much of its energy generation, so lowering demand during peak hours helps lower emissions of greenhouse gases.

As the heat wave drags on in New Hampshire, so do concerns about energy costs, especially during peak hours of use.

Utility officials said electricity demand peaks from 4-7 p.m., when people get home from work and crank up their air conditioners. They said there are ways to save money and ease the stress on the electrical grids while still staying comfortable.

Officials said shifting the air conditioner or thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can cut energy costs by as much as 10% per year. Dehumidifiers help lower costs because the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.

Other advice includes changing the air conditioner filter, using a ceiling fan, closing the blinds during the day, using a clothesline instead of the dryer and cooking on the grill.

“Try not to use your dishwasher tonight if you don’t have to. Wait until later in the evening,” said William Hinkle, of Eversource. “Try not to run your laundry machine or your dryer, things like that.”

Smart wireless thermostats can also help optimize energy use, officials said.

Eversource offers a demand-response program to residential and business ratepayers, targeted to hours of peak demand.

“They’ll get a notice on a particularly hot day like today, and if they opt into the demand-response program and they curtail their use or reduce their energy use, we will provide an incentive to them,” Hinkle said.

The cost of energy is highest during the mid- to late afternoon.

“That’s when solar energy is starting to come off the grid,” said Alec O’Meara, of Unitil. “The sun is lower in the sky, but it’s still real hot out, so people are still using their AC.”

Because utilities set rates every six months based on the previous six months, officials said saving energy now can have benefits later.

“If we as a region can lower those peak energy usage times, it has the potential to lower energy costs down the road,” O’Meara said.

Utility officials said the region relies on fossil fuels for much of its energy generation, so lowering demand during peak hours helps lower emissions of greenhouse gases.

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