If you noticed your electric bills this summer were higher than usual, there’s a reason why. Trico set several records this summer for electricity use.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, June 2017 set new marks for heat in Tucson and throughout Arizona. Tucson’s June average temperature of 89.7 degrees, which factors in the high and low readings for all 30 days, was the highest in 130 years of record-keeping.
The hotter it is outside, the harder your air conditioner has to work to cool your home. Here’s some answers to frequently asked questions about high summer electric bills:
Q. I never change the thermostat setting. I use the same appliances and equipment every day but my electric bill is high. How is that possible?
A. While you might not do anything different from day-to-day or week-to-week, the outside temperatures do play a big part in your energy consumption. It’s important to remember that air conditioning systems are designed to function with the outside temperature of 100 degrees or less. When the temperature outside becomes higher than 100, the AC system will consume more energy, even if you don’t change the thermostat. The more frequently your AC cycles on and off, the more energy you use. The goal is to keep the thermostat set at a temperature that is comfortable for you, but high enough that the system doesn’t cycle on and off too frequently.
Q. Is it better to set my thermostat to a high temperature (85–90) while at work all day and cool the house when I get home to a comfortable temperature (78–80), or keep the thermostat just a degree or two higher during the day so the cooling unit doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the house?
A. You’ll save money anytime you can increase the temperature on your thermostat and cause the unit not to run. The old myth that says you will spend more energy bringing the temperature back down than you would have spent just leaving the thermostat alone is just that, a myth.
Q. What is the recommended thermostat setting during the day?
A. The Department of Energy (DOE) recommends that you set the thermostat no lower than 78 when you are home and need cooling. Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be since the unit will not need to run as frequently. Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in higher electric bills. Consider a programmable thermostat so that you can control how often and when the air conditioner operates. For more information, visit energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats.
Q. How can I manage my usage?
A. Sign up for SmartHub. This application provides convenient account access to Usage Explorer, giving you a detailed look at your past and current usage, all in one place. You can view your usage and weather trends by month, or if available, by day. Along with daily consumption, you can see the high, low and average temperatures with an option to view the daily cost. Many TRICO members are utilizing this tool in an effort to reduce their power bills.