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Ameren Illinois Utilities Offer Tips on Staying Cool and Safe While Spending Less on Energy

June 22, 2009

Energy Efficiency Incentives Available to Residential Electric Customers

PEORIA, Ill., June 22 /PRNewswire/ — With the return of hot and humid weather, the Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) are providing information to help customers stay safe and comfortable while keeping energy costs as low as possible.

Furthermore, the Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) Act On Energy program (ActOnEnergy.com) is offering electric customers rebates on window air conditioners, ceiling fans and dehumidifiers, as well as special incentives for central air conditioners and geothermal heat pumps.

Typically, residential customers use more electricity during the summer months than the rest of the year. This additional electricity is used to operate air conditioners and fans.

However, there are steps customers can take to reduce the amount of electricity they use.

  • Turn the air conditioner’s thermostat up. For each degree you increase the temperature, you can reduce electricity use by about 3 percent.
  • Regularly change or wash (depending on type) air conditioner filters. This is especially important if you have pets or live in an area that has a lot of dust.
  • Use low-cost ceiling fans or other types of circulating fans. Circulating air feels cooler. Many people find this allows them to set the air conditioner thermostat at 76 to 78 degrees.
  • Keep shades, curtains and blinds closed during the day to reduce effects of solar heating.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Unlike incandescent bulbs, ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs emit little heat and last up to 10 years.
  • Consider turning off the air conditioner and opening windows on mild days or cool nights.

The AIU Act On Energy program (ActOnEnergy.com) is offering rebates to residential electric customers on these ENERGY STAR qualified products: $35 rebates on window air conditioners, $25 rebates on dehumidifiers and $20 on ceiling fans and ceiling fan kits.

In addition, residential electric customers may receive an incentive of $600 for retiring an existing central air conditioner or heat pump with a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 8 or less. A retired unit must then be replaced with a new 14 SEER central air conditioner or heat pump. If the retired air conditioner or heat pump has a SEER greater than 8, an incentive of $110 may be paid.

Residential electric customers who install a new geothermal heat pump may receive an incentive of $600.

Also, AIU residential electric customers may receive cash for old refrigerators and freezers. The refrigerator or freezer must be operating as a secondary unit located in a garage or basement. Also, the unit must be of standard size and manufactured before 1993.

Eligible AIU electric customers should call 1-866-899-9088 to schedule a pickup of their refrigerator or freezer. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Complete information about residential and business energy efficiency incentive programs is available at ActOnEnergy.com or by calling the Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCILCO – 1-888-672-5252; AmerenCIPS – 1-800-789-2477; AmerenIP – 1-800-755-5000) for information.

The Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) have been providing safe, reliable energy delivery service for more than a century. The Ameren Illinois Utilities deliver energy to 1.2 million electric and 840,000 natural gas customers in more than 1,200 communities within a 43,700-square-mile service territory.

Summer Safety and Cooling Tips

Keeping you and others safe

  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated, even if you aren’t thirsty.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help stay cool.
  • Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity and too much direct sunlight.
  • Look in on neighbors, especially senior citizens. Some elderly people and those with certain medical conditions may not sense that indoor temperatures have reached dangerously high levels. Check in on these people during heat waves to make certain they are safe and comfortable.
  • Go to cooling centers or other places that are air conditioned if the temperature in your home gets too high.
  • Watch for signs of heat-related illness: difficulty breathing, dizziness or fainting, excessive sweating, headaches, confusion, nausea. If you suspect someone has a heat-related illness, have them lie down in a cool place, give them sips of cool water and call for help.
  • Think cool, stay relaxed. Remaining calm in times of stress can help moderate your body temperature.

Saving Money Today

  • To cool a house efficiently, the air conditioner needs to be cool itself. Keep it in the shade. If the air conditioner is already in the sun, build a wood shade screen for it – but make certain you don’t block the air flow.
  • With central air conditioning, cool the rooms that are used. Don’t close more vents than necessary because closing too many vents reduces operating efficiency.
  • Turn the air conditioner thermostat up when away from home for a day or longer.
  • Don’t switch the air conditioner to a colder setting when turning it on. Moving the thermostat up and down throughout the day wastes energy and money. Placing the thermostat at extremes won’t cool a home faster, but will make the system work harder.
  • Set the thermostat as high as possible. For each degree the temperature is increased, electricity usage will be reduced by 2 to 3 percent. Consider a setting of 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never place a thermostat on an exterior wall, where it would be affected by the hot or cold outdoor temperatures. Appliances that give off heat – like lamps – should be kept away from the thermostat.
  • Consider replacing an existing thermostat with a new programmable model.
  • Save energy by taking care of air conditioner coils. If they are dusty, dirty or clogged with old leaves, you can vacuum them with a household or shop vacuum cleaner. If the attachment on the vacuum cleaner won’t fit between the coils, reverse the air flow and blow away dirt and debris.
  • Regularly change or wash (depending on type) air conditioner filters. This is especially important if you have pets.
  • Keep the heat out by drawing shades, blinds and curtains on hot days.
  • If you have exhaust fans in your bathroom, laundry and kitchen, use them to help reduce the humidity burden on your air conditioner. These fans should not be used continuously, but only as required to remove humidity.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLS emit little heat and last up to 10 years.
  • Consider turning off the air conditioner during mild days and cool nights.
  • Use low-cost ceiling fans or other types of circulating fans. Circulating air feels cooler. Many people find this allows them to set the air conditioner thermostat at 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Avoid activities such as cooking, washing clothes, showering or bathing and dishwashing during the afternoon and early evening hours. These activities will add heat to your home, making your air conditioning work harder.

Saving Money Tomorrow

  • There is no substitute for insulation. Add insulation if attic floor joists are visible.
  • Use of weather-stripping and caulking prevents outside air infiltration.
  • Make certain exterior doors have a tight fit.
  • Consider replacing old windows. Storm or dual-glazed windows can reduce heat gain by as much as 50 percent.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR qualified label when buying appliances, lights, heating and cooling equipment, home electronic products, office equipment and more. ENERGY STAR consumers save money. In 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates the ENERGY STAR program saved consumers about $19 billion on their utility bills, avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 29 million cars. For information, call 1-888-STAR-YES or visit: www.energystar.gov.
  • Significant savings can be realized by installing a high-efficiency air conditioner. Consider purchasing a central unit with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 14 or higher for greater operating savings. A SEER 14 unit is 40 percent more efficient than a SEER 10 unit. For window air conditioners, consider a unit with an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 10.0 or higher. Replacing an EER 5.0 window air conditioner with an EER 10.0 unit can cut energy use by up to 50 percent. See ActOnEnergy.com for incentive information or call the Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCILCO – 1-888-672-5252; AmerenCIPS – 1-800-789-2477; AmerenIP – 1-800-755-5000) for information.
  • The Ameren Illinois Utilities recommend customers enroll in the Budget Billing plan. This free service allows customers to pay the same amount each month of the year. Customers can enroll on the Ameren Web site (www.ameren.com) or by calling toll-free 888-789-2477.
  • Plant trees around the house. Trees substantially reduce energy use by shading roofs and walls from the summer sun and serving as a barrier against winter winds. For a free copy of “Planting Trees” and for more details on proper tree selection, send an e-mail request to jmucho@ameren.com.

SOURCE Ameren Illinois Utilities


Source: newswire



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