NYSEG and RG&E Remind Customers to Stay Safe, Use Energy Wisely During Extreme Weather
– With frigid weather refusing to loosen its grip on the state, NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, remind customers to stay safe and use energy wisely.
“Extreme weather puts additional stress on our electricity and natural gas delivery systems in the form of dramatically increased customer demand for energy, however we fully expect to continue to provide the safe, reliable service our customers expect and deserve,” said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “We encourage our customers to put safety first and to keep an eye on the thermostat to help ensure wise energy use.”
NYSEG and RG&E offer the following tips.
One of the most important safety precautions customers can take is to have an annual check of heating systems, chimneys and flues by a professional to identify any issues that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Even though we are well into the heating season, it’s never too late to call a contractor to schedule a potentially life-saving safety check,” Lynch said.
- In addition to the annual safety check, use carbon monoxide detectors.
- Natural gas appliance chimneys and vents should be kept free of snow and ice to prevent the build-up of potentially-deadly carbon monoxide.
- Emergency generators can be dangerous. If you use one, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Never run an emergency generator indoors or even in a garage; operate generators only outdoors in well-ventilated areas.
- Never use a natural gas or propane range to heat your home.
- Never use a grill, hibachi, lantern or portable camping stove indoors.
- Make sure your electric stove tops and/or ovens are off when not in use.
- Keep electric and kerosene space heaters away from anything flammable. And be sure the use of kerosene heaters is not prohibited by local law.
Using Energy Wisely
Taking a few simple steps to control energy use, particularly during extreme weather conditions when energy use tends to spike, can help control winter bills.
“We always encourage our customers to use energy wisely, but it is particularly important and beneficial when the temperature drops and winds pick up,” Lynch said.
- Set thermostats no higher than 70° and at 58° when you’re away from the house for more than a few hours or in bed for the night. (This may not be advisable if frail, ill or elderly people or infants are in the home.)
- Install automatic set back or programmable thermostats.
- Change or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
- Since warm air rises, use registers to direct warm airflow across the floor.
- Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close fireplace dampers when not in use.
- Open draperies and blinds on sunny days to let the warmth in; close them at night to insulate against cold air outside.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR-certified compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. These bulbs use 70% to 90% less electricity and last 10 to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
- Use programmable timers to turn lights on/off.
- Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
Set water heater temperatures at 120° to cut water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.
Install water-flow restrictors in showerheads and faucets.
Limit the length of showers.
Run washing machines and clothes dryers with a full load.
>> For more low-cost and no-cost energy-saving tips, visit www.nyseg.com or www.rge.com and click on “Usage and Safety” (http://www.nyseg.com/UsageAndSafety/default.html or http://www.rge.com/UsageAndSafety/default.html).
>> Customers are also encouraged to sign up for Budget Billing service, which enables them to spread utility costs evenly over 12 months. For more information or to sign up, NYSEG customers should visit nyseg.com or call 1.800.572.1111; RG&E customers should visit rge.com or call 1.800.743.2110.
>> Customers who are having difficulty paying their bills are urged to contact their utility right away (NYSEG: 1.888.315.1755; RG&E: 1.877.266.3492).
Preparing for Storm-Related Service Interruptions
Ice, wet snow and wind – and the impact they have on trees – are the weather conditions most likely to damage NYSEG’s and RG&E’s electricity delivery systems and cause power interruptions.
“Our crews are prepared to respond to power interruptions every hour of every day and we encourage our customers to be prepared for power interruptions, too, especially during extreme weather,” Lynch said.
• Anyone who uses life-sustaining equipment that operates on electricity should contact their utility right away (NYSEG: 1.800.572.1111; RG&E: 1.800.743.2110). Customers may be enrolled in a critical customer program or provided specific advice on how to prepare for power interruptions.
• Keep flashlights, a battery-powered radio or TV and fresh batteries handy.
• Have at least one telephone that is not dependent on electricity. (Cordless phones won’t work during a power interruption.)
• Keep a supply of non-perishable food and bottled water on hand.
• Make sure cell phone batteries are fully charged.
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