CenterPoint EnergyElectric Transmission and Distribution
CenterPoint Energy offers tips for beating high summer electric bills
Soaring temperatures lead to increased usage and higher bills

HOUSTON - June 28, 2010 - With summer months along the Gulf Coast come high heat and humidity. As we try to remain comfortable in this environment, we run air conditioners, fans and other electrical appliances more. And that increased usage can translate into large increases in the electric bills customers receive from their Retail Electric Providers (REPs).

“To date, the average June temperature has been four degrees hotter than the 30-year normal average temperature and hot, humid weather prompts most Houston-area residents to seek refuge in air-conditioned homes and businesses,” said Scott Prochazka, division senior vice president of electric operations for CenterPoint Energy. “Increased air conditioning usage will have a big impact on electric usage and we want customers to be prepared for the higher bills they are likely to receive from their REP. At times in the past, consumers have been surprised by increased bills and we are working to eliminate these kinds of surprises in the future by providing information that consumers can use to prepare for changes in weather that lead to changes in their electric bills.”

Air conditioning can account for more than 70 percent of residential electric use during summer months and raising thermostats to at least 78 degrees - and even higher when you’ll be away from home for a few hours - will significantly reduce electric use. More low-cost or no cost things customers can do include:

  • Changing air filters monthly - a dirty filter restricts airflow and increases the operating cost of your air conditioner.
  • Running your washing machine, dish washer and dryer only with full loads.
  • Closing draperies and blinds during the day to keep the sun’s warmth out.
  • Making your air conditioner more energy efficient by caulking to seal openings around doors and windows, landscaping to add shade and adding attic insulation.
  • Running ceiling fans in a counter-clockwise rotation to cool occupied rooms and reduce air conditioning use.
  • Setting the temperature on your water heater to ‘warm’.

CenterPoint Energy also has efficiency programs that offer a variety of energy improvement programs for residential, business, non-profit and new development applications.

The company partners with energy efficiency service providers and local agencies to support residents in saving energy. These programs are geared to assist residents in making energy efficient upgrades that reduce energy consumption and benefit the environment.

CenterPoint Energy's business energy efficiency programs assist small and large commercial customers in reducing demand and energy usage and offer incentives that promote the installation of a variety of energy efficiency and load management measures. For more information on CenterPoint Energy’s programs, visit www.centerpointefficiency.com.

Additionally, CenterPoint energy is deploying smart meters that will allow customers to get insight on their electricity consumption much earlier and get updates as frequently as they choose, enabling them to better manage their energy use and the amount of their bill by logging on to www.SmartMeterTexas.com. The 400,000 customers, who have already received a new smart meter, can register to view their usage from 48 hours earlier in 15-minute intervals via the SmartMeterTexas portal. The new meters and the portal are making it possible, for the first time ever, for consumers to see how much electricity they have consumed before the monthly bill arrives. They’ll be able to see what time of day, what time of week and what time of year they use the most electricity. For the latest information on CenterPoint Energy’s current smart meter program, visit www.CenterPointEnergy.com/EnergyInSight.

Another important step for consumers to consider in managing the cost of their monthly electric bill is to be sure they have the lowest available rates by periodically comparing electric rates at www.powertochoose.org. While energy efficiency and conservation can help reduce usage, shopping for a better rate can contribute significantly to lowering monthly electric bills.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines, and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total over $19 billion. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years.  For more information, visit the Web site at  www.CenterPointEnergy.com.