HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — As hot weather settles across Pennsylvania with the official start of summer, the authorities are encouraging people to explore ways to stay cool and ways to save on power bills.

The Public Utility Commission (PUC) is encouraging consumers to explore simple #WaysToStayCool and #WaysToSave. Additionally, consumers struggling with high utility bills are urged to #CallUtilitiesNow to discuss affordability options.

#WaysToStayCool

There are several simple things the PUC said most consumers can do with little or no additional costs:

  • Fan Yourself: Fans circulate the air, keeping you feeling cooler, even at higher temps. Circulating air with a fan can help you feel up to 4 degrees cooler
  • Follow the Shade: Relax in rooms that do not receive direct sunlight
  • Block the Heat: Use window blinds and coverings at the sunniest time of day to reduce unwanted heat buildup
  • Don’t Add Extra Heat: Postpone using heat-producing appliances, such as clothes dryers, dishwashers and stoves until it is cooler
  • Cookout: Consider cooking with outdoor barbecue grills or microwaves rather than stoves or ovens, which add indoor heat

#WaysToSave

In addition to simple ways to feel cooler on hot summer days, the PUC also underscored a series of ways to help conserve energy and avoid generating unwanted heat inside your home:

  • Check Your Thermostat: The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill. Every degree you raise your airconditioning thermostat above 72 degrees can save up to 3 percent on cooling expenses
  • Clean is “Green:” Clean and replace air conditioner filters regularly and make sure air circulation paths are clear
  • Power Off: Turn off non-essential appliances and lights to reduce power use and unwanted heat
  • Don’t Cool Un-needed Space: Close off unused rooms and adjust air vents or thermostats to avoid unnecessary cooling expenses
  • Keep the Heat Outside: Seal cracks and openings to prevent warn air from leaking into your home

It’s worth noting that many utilities have posted information on their website about conservation, energy efficiency, energy use assessments, and other tools to help manage energy usage.

#CallUtilitiesNow

For those struggling with paying utility bills, the PUC suggests exploring Customer Assistance Programs to look at different affordability options in Pennsylvania.

Utilities understand the assistance programs available in their communities for income-qualified consumers, including utility-run Customer Assistance Programs, national programs like the Low-Income Home Energy Assitance Program (LIHEAP), and various hardship fund programs operated by utilities and non-profit organizations.

The PUC said public utilities are the first and most direct mechanisms to link struggling households with much-needed assistance. Utilities can help enroll consumers in assistance programs, guide them to other available resources, and discuss new payment plan options to address overdue balances and help consumers move forward.

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For more information on the PUC, visit puc.pa.gov.