It’s hot and humid. With more of us working from home and with the kids out of school for the summer, we are using more electricity to power our air conditioners, fans, tech gadgets and streaming services.
These easy ways to reduce your electricity use and also save money on your bill also can help avoid a power reduction, called a “brown-out”, or a full blown black-out.
NYC has opened free air-conditioned Cooling Centers
in all five boroughs for seniors and others experiencing discomfort in the heat.
or call 311, the NYC information line (do NOT call 911)
The NYC Blackout of July 13/14, 1977, when Con Edison feeders short-circuited following a lightning strike, plunged most of the city into darkness for as long as 48 hours.
There also was a brief blackout on July 13, 2019 – ironically, the 42nd anniversary of the 1977 blackout – affecting Manhattan’s West Side, including the theater district. Power was restored in less than eight hours.
Tips to Reduce Electricity Use
Gadgets such as cellphones and tablet chargers pull electricity even when not in use. Don’t leave them plugged in unless they are actively recharging a device.
That includes empty cords dangling from an outlet, waiting for something to charge.
Ditto, unplug the coffee pot, microwave and anything else you can think of when not in use, for the same reason.
According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, such “vampire” and standby power totals as much as 10% of your monthly electric bill. And who wants vampires in the house.
Don’t just walk away from your desktop computer or laptop, put it to sleep. You’ll extend the life of the electronic device at the same time you save electricity.
Avoid using such heat-making appliances as dishwashers and washing machines during the hottest part of the day.
Use the ‘energy saver’ setting on the dishwasher to disable the heated drying cycle and let the dishes dry with the accumulated heat inside the dishwasher.
Close the Blinds
All that sunshine, especially in rooms facing south and west, heat up the room and make your air conditioner work harder, so close the blinds or shades, at least part way.
Raise the thermostat and lower your bill.
Each degree below 78 will increase your energy use by 3-4%.
Also, don’t leave your air conditioner running when nobody is home. Why cool an empty house?
Clean the air conditioner filter regularly. A clogged filter makes the air conditioner work harder.
Wash it off in the bathtub, and be sure it’s completely dry before you put it back into the air conditioner.
Use Cold Water
Take a shower instead of turning up the AC.
Use the cold water cycle on the washing machine.
And drink lots of cold water to replace the liquids you sweat out.
NYCOTC Editor Evelyn Kanter visited Namibia recently,
a desert country where water is precious.
Click here to read what I learned about how conserve water
These money saving, power saving tips work anywhere, in Con Edison territory or not.
This was posted originally in 2015 and is updated regularly, including for 2021