Mississippi Power sets all-time summer peak

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Monday afternoon, Mississippi Power set a company record for electricity demand during the summer months. The demand was for 2,708,000 kilowatts of electricity which surpasses the previous record of 2,593,000 kilowatts set on August 29, 2000.

"We are a utility that typically experiences its greatest demand during summer months, so planning for this time of year is one of our chief priorities, our systems are operating well and there have been no unexpected interruptions attributed to the hot weather," said Verdell Hawkins, company spokesman.

As extreme temperatures continue Mississippi Power recommends customers practice energy saving techniques to save on their monthly electric bill. Here are a few ways you can start saving today.

Central air conditioning - Set the thermostat at the highest comfortable setting. Seventy-eight degrees is the lowest recommended summer setting for most people. Some people desire a cooler home, but each degree the setting is lowered increases the amount of electricity used. Change air conditioner filters at least once a month to make sure the unit runs most efficiently.

Ceiling fans - Ceiling fans require much less electricity than air conditioners and can make a room feel more comfortable at a higher thermostat setting that will save energy. When ceiling fans are placed near air conditioning vents, the cool air is distributed faster and over a larger area.

Room air conditioner - Close doors to other rooms and close curtains and shades to block out sunlight that can heat the room being cooled.

Outside Unit - Don't let trash or weeds block the air flow around the outside air conditioning unit. Have your unit cleaned and checked at least once a year for optimum efficiency and performance.

Whole house comfort - Check weather stripping and seals around doors, attic stairs and windows to keep cool air in and hot air out. If you can feel a draft or see light coming through, your home is losing valuable cooling energy. Close shades, blinds, or draperies on windows that the sun shines through. By covering these windows, you can reduce the amount of heat coming through them by as much as 50 percent

Proper insulation - Make sure your home is adequately insulated. Proper insulation will guard against unnecessary energy loss. Insulation is measured by R-value. The higher the R-value, the greater the effectiveness of the insulation. A qualified insulation contractor can help you determine if your home is properly insulated.

Refrigerator - Open and close doors quickly. The longer the door is open the more cool air is lost and the more the refrigerator has to run to keep food cold. Cover all foods and liquids. Cover all containers in the refrigerator - food in uncovered containers will dry out because refrigerators are designed to remove moisture. Keep food a small distance away from the interior walls of your refrigerator. This allows cool air to circulate more rapidly therefore making the refrigerator run less. Locate refrigerators and freezers away from heat producing appliances and external doors.

Water heater - Set the water heater no higher than 130 degrees for average use. 140 degrees is sometimes recommended for automatic dishwashers. Repair dripping hot water faucets, they waste a lot of energy and water daily. Flush the sediment from your water heater once a year by drawing several buckets of water from the faucet on the bottom of the water heater.

Laundry - Wash full loads and use only cold water whenever possible. Vent clothes dryers outside and keep lint filters clean. If you have a great deal of laundry, drying consecutive loads takes advantage of the heat buildup in the dryer.

Cooking - Match pots and pans to burner size on the range top, and food cooks more quickly in covered containers. Microwave ovens use less energy to cook the same amount of food as conventional ovens and don't heat up the kitchen. Check the gasket on your oven door to be sure it seals well. If an oven loses heat through the door it cooks less efficiently and precisely. When baking, place the prepared food in the oven as soon as the desired temperature is reached. Don't open the oven door needlessly to check on what's cooking. Every time you open the oven door, as much as 20 percent of the heat can be lost.

Appliances - If major heat-producing appliances such as clothes dryers and dishwashers are located in air-conditioned space, running them at night or early morning when it is cooler can save energy.

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