ASHLAND, KY –  With temperatures forecasted to remain extremely cold through next week, Kentucky Power reminds customers there are some steps they can take to save energy -- and dollars -- as their electric heating systems work overtime to beat the cold.  The company also offers tips on what to do should cold weather events lead to power outages.

“Higher electricity bills will always follow higher electricity consumption,” said Everett Phillips, managing director of customer and distribution operations, for Kentucky Power. “But, there are some steps customers can take to reduce their electricity consumption and help lower their winter heating bills.

“Often simple steps or changes in behavior can lead to significant savings – not just in the winter, but all year long,” Phillips said. By adjusting your thermostat to 68-70 degrees, most customers will stay comfortable, yet save noticeably on their bills.  Other simple things -- like turning off lights, radios, computers and televisions when not in use -- save money and cut consumer costs.”

Kentucky Power offers the following tips to help control winter heating costs.

  • Set your thermostat at 68 degrees and consider installing a programmable thermostat that maintains a lower temperature in your home during times when you are away.
  • Caulk, seal and weather-strip all openings from your home to the outside.  Install plastic sheeting or storm windows over old or leaking windows.  Eliminating air leaks and drafts in your home can save as much as 10 percent on energy costs.
  • Make sure your attic insulation has the appropriate “R” rating for your home, business or structure.
  • Turn lights, computers, televisions, radios and other appliances off when not in use.  Replace conventional bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Make sure heating vents and return air vents are free from obstructions such as furniture or rugs.  Close your fireplace damper when not using the fireplace.
  • Take shorter showers to reduce water-heating costs.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
  • Put on a sweater, drink warm drinks and/or use sofa throws to keep warm inside the house instead of turning up the heat.
  • Use a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven when possible.
  • Let the sunlight in during the day and close blinds/draperies at night.

For additional energy saving information, go to Kentucky Power’s website at www.kentuckypower.com or the U.S. Department of Energy’s web site at www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/.  At kentuckypower.com you’ll find useful energy and appliance calculators that can help you save money on your electric bills all year long.  You can also find information about Kentucky Power’s payment plans to help spread the cost of your electricity more equally throughout the year (eliminating some of the peaks and valleys in your bill during months of extreme cold or heat).  For those who need payment assistance or additional information, Kentucky Power’s 24-hour Customer Solution Center can be reached at (800) 572-1113.

Of course, severe winter weather can bring power outages. When power outages occur, be prepared. Kentucky Power will do everything it can to bring back service as safely and quickly as possible, but encourages customer to take some steps on their own.

First, let Kentucky Power know. Customers should call our toll-free number at (800) 572-1113. During times of high call volume callers may hear a recorded message. Even if a customer does not speak with a Customer Solutions Center representative, the customer can leave a voice message about the outage. Customers who use a battery-powered laptop computer can report an outage at www.kentuckypower.com.

The following are a few tips for coping with outages:

  • Never touch a downed wire. Always treat this situation as dangerous. Report this condition by phone or online as soon as possible.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with flashlight(s), battery-powered lamp and fresh batteries; battery-powered radio or television; water for drinking and cooking; instructions for manually opening power-operated garage doors; manual can opener.
  • Do not open freezer door. This will keep foods frozen longer. Minimize opening refrigerator doors as well.
  • Disconnect (trip breaker in your electrical panel) major heating and cooling equipment circuits. In fact, leave just one or two lights switched “on” to let you know when power is restored. Once power is restored, turn on appliances gradually.  Electric utilities can have problems with what is called “cold load pick-up” following outages as customer demand surges when service is restored.
  • If the temperatures dip below freezing and the power outage is projected to last overnight or longer, consider moving to a shelter or staying with friends or relatives who do have electricity.
  • If you leave your house, protect your water pipes from freezing by turning the water off at the main shutoff valve and opening faucets to drain the water.

Kentucky Power is an operating unit of American Electric Power and serves approximately 172,000 customers in all or parts of 20 Eastern Kentucky Counties.




Ronn Robinson

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