JUNO BEACH, Fla. – This is the time of year in Florida that air conditioners have to work overtime to keep homes comfortable. And since cooling represents more than half of an average home’s energy use, it is no surprise that energy bills typically peak this time of year. Rising fuel prices are also impacting energy bills.
Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has taken a number of steps to lessen the impact of fuel costs on customers by embracing efficient, diverse and affordable energy solutions. Over the past 15 years, FPL has made its fossil fuel fleet the most fuel efficient among large-scale utilities nationwide. FPL continues to invest in new solar plants and additional nuclear power to make its fleet more efficient and less reliant on any single fuel source.
“We’re doing our part to keep fuel costs down by running our power plants as efficiently as possible, and we’re committed to helping our customers save money by being more energy efficient as well,” said Marlene Santos, FPL vice president of customer service.
FPL offers advice to help customers manage their electricity usage and save money. These may involve small adjustments to daily habits but can help customers who want to gain more control over their energy usage and keep bills as low as possible:
- As a first step, residential customers are encouraged to take an Online Home Energy Survey at www.FPL.com to produce an individualized report based on their home’s energy usage along with ways to keep costs down.
- Cool the home at 78 degrees or warmer with the thermostat fan switch on “auto.” For additional savings, raise the thermostat to 82 degrees or warmer when away.
- Install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically and maximize energy savings.
- Clean or replace the air conditioning filter monthly to trim cooling costs. If the unit is 10 years old or older, it is likely time for it to be replaced. Through FPL’s A/C Buying Program, customers can access tips and tools to find the right size unit and compare costs. And better yet, FPL may even offer incentives to help pay for a new, more efficient unit.
- Turn off the ceiling fan when leaving the room. A fan that runs constantly can cost up to $7 a month depending on size and age.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. It can save up to $70 a year.
- Limit running the pool pump to six hours a day in summer and four a day in winter.
- Adjust the water level on the washing machine to match the load size, especially when using hot water. Always use a cold rinse.
- The average household spends about $15 per month to heat water. Conserve energy and trim your costs by using less hot water and water-conserving showerheads; set the hot water heater thermostat to 120 degrees to save energy and reduce the risk of scalding.
- Clean the lint filter in the dryer before every load. This dries clothes faster and saves money.
- If the dryer has an auto sensor function, use it to conserve energy by not running the dryer longer than it needs to.
- You can reduce your costs considerably by replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which use less energy, produce less heat and last 10 times longer. For each bulb you replace, you can save $30 or more in electricity costs over the life of the bulb. Switch lights off when you don’t need them or consider automatic devices (especially outdoors) such as pre-set timers, light-sensitive photocells or motion detector lights.
- Many devices draw power even when they are not in use. Consider plugging these devices (such as televisions, home office equipment, stereos, DVD and DVR players, and cell phones) into a power strip with an on/off button, or unplugging items when not in use.
- Close window treatments on the southern and western-facing windows of your home during the time of day the sun shines into those rooms. Drawn blinds or curtains will help keep the sun’s heat out, thus reducing how hard your A/C will have to work.
FPL also provides options to its customers to help them better manage monthly electric bills. For example, customers can sign up for Budget Billing. Budget Billing is not a savings tool, and customers will still need to manage their energy usage and conserve; however, this free program can help smooth out the ups and downs of seasonal energy use and jumps in fuel costs. And when combined with FPL Automatic Bill Pay, the bill is automatically paid out of the customer’s account every month on the date selected, thus avoiding the risk of late charges or reconnection fees.
Florida Power & Light Company is a subsidiary of FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE:FPL), nationally known as a high quality, efficient and customer-driven organization focused on energy-related products and services. With annual revenues of over $15 billion and a growing presence in 27 states, FPL Group is widely recognized as one of the country's premier power companies. Florida Power & Light Company serves 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida. FPL Energy, LLC, FPL Group's competitive energy subsidiary, is a leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable fuels. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.FPL.com, www.FPLGroup.com and www.FPLEnergy.com.