How to keep your energy bill down amid heat wave

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With a hot and muggy week on tap, your air conditioner is going to be working overtime.

Consumers Energy says the heat wave will push customers to use their air conditioners 40% more than usual.

But there are things you can do to ease the strain on your wallet. For one, Consumers is urging customers to dial up thermostats to 78 degrees.

“Dial it up while you’re gone. If you’re both at work during the day or if the home is empty, dial it up to 78 or maybe even higher and have it come down when you know you’re going to be home. That’ll help save you money,” Consumers Energy spokesman Roger Morgenstern told 24 Hour News 8 Monday.

The company says you can save between 1% and 3% on your bill for each degree you increase the temperature.

“We suggest 78. 78 isn’t a magic number. We want people to be comfortable, we want them to use (energy), we want them to settle for what they would like,” Morgenstern said.

It also helps to frequently clean or replace air filters, install a programmable thermostat to regulate temperatures when you’re not at home, seal leaky windows and doors and keep your drapes and shades shut during the day.

>>Online: More tips to save on your energy bill

Morgenstern said the electrical grid is ready for the heat.

“We’ve made millions of dollars in investments in poles and wires and transformers, all the equipment that you see around the state. We feel the grid is ready to go. We won’t be hitting any records in terms of our output, but we know it’s going to be hot and we want our customers to be able to control their costs,” he said.

Kent County Emergency Manager Lt. Lou Hint also reminds residents that cooling centers will be available. Residents can 211 for locations and hours.

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