Weather plays the biggest role in the amount of energy customers use and how it impacts their power bill. Customers typically see their highest bills after the hottest and coldest months.
As is typical for this time of the year low temperatures in Northwest Florida are dropping into the 30s and even the 20s in some areas, with the average temperature continuing to drop throughout January and February. Now is the time to take steps to help save money on your Gulf Power energy bill and stay warm during the coldest spells.
“There are many ways to conserve energy, stay warm and reduce the jumps in your energy bills,” said Kimberly Blair, Gulf Power spokesperson. “Budget Billing is one service customers can participate in to eliminate drastic spikes during extreme weather events. Customers who sign up for Budget Billing, pay about the same amount each month.”
Check out these 10 cold weather tips from Gulf Power’s energy experts:
- Set your thermostat at a constant temperature. Almost half of the energy in your home goes to heating and cooling. In the winter, set it at 68 degrees and leave it. For every degree above 68 that you set your thermostat, you’ll pay 10 percent more in heating costs.
- Find and seal leaks so cold air can’t sneak in through doors, walls or a poorly insulated attic. Make sure there are no tiny holes in your ducts that could cause your heater to work harder. Install weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows. Increase attic insulation to save 30 percent on cooling and heating costs.
- Reverse the setting on your ceiling fan to push warmer air down to the floor level.
- Maintain your heating system so it runs more efficiently. Change or clean your air filter monthly since dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. Check out available incentives from Gulf Power’s Heating and Cooling page.
- Lower your lighting costs by turning off lights that aren’t in use. Use fluorescent lighting or LEDs. They last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. And, they consume as little as 20 percent of the energy for the same amount of light.
- Use an electric blanket or heated mattress cover. These are more economical than heating the entire house. To prevent a fire hazard, avoid using ones that are older than 10 years. Don’t run cords under your mattress. More safety tips.
- Use the sun to heat your home by opening draperies and blinds on the sunny side of your house. Close them on the shaded side of your house and at night.
- Manage your energy and control your savings through Energy Select, a nationally recognized program that puts the power of savings in your hands. By combining a unique variable price, an online programming and smart thermostat, Energy Select allows customers to take control of saving money and energy. This energy-saving program features a lower energy price 87 percent of the time, the convenience to control your comfort and savings, and FREE installation.
- Get a free Energy Checkup, one of the easiest ways you can identify measures to conserve energy. You can access a free online checkup from anywhere at any time on a laptop, tablet or mobile device, or you can schedule an in-home energy checkup. The checkup provides a report that’s personalized for you, based on your home’s actual energy use and can be accessed whenever you want to look for ways to save money and energy.
- Use portable electric heaters only in small areas. Buy newer models that are thermostatically controlled and carry the UL label.
There are many other things you can do to keep your home more comfortable in the winter. Check out more energy-savings tips here.
Struggling to pay higher bills?
For those who may struggle to pay their bill, the Salvation Army has a program called Project SHARE. Project SHARE provides emergency assistance to our neighbors who need help with energy bills, repairs to heating and air-conditioning equipment and other energy-related needs. The program assists the elderly, the disabled, the sick and others who are experiencing financial hardship. Gulf Power customers can make donations to Project SHARE by adding a donation to their power bill.
Here is a full list of where to get help paying your power bill:
- Love in Action, (850) 638-2706
- Jackson County Senior Citizen, (850)263-4650
- Salvation Army, (850)638-7102
- Catholic Charities, (850)763-0475
- Council On Aging, (850)769-3468
- United Way, (850)785-7521 or 215-6611
- Family Services, (850)785-1721
- Salvation Army, (850)769-5259
- Tri County, 942 Jenks Ave., (850)215-0173
- Beach Care Services — Panama City Beach Residents only, (850)235-3002
- Caring & Sharing, (850)892-7656
- Tri County Council Assistance, (850)892-3615
Fort Walton Beach
- Striving for Perfection Ministries, 312 Pelham Rd. Open Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (850)862-3899
- United Way, 112 Tupelo Ave., (850)243-0315
- Salvation Army, 425 Mary Esther-cutoff, (850)243-4531
- Catholic Social Services, 11 1st St. (850)244-2825
- Sharing & Caring, (850)682-1134
- Salvation Army, (850)243-4531
- Tri-County, (850)306-1134
- Okaloosa County Council on Aging, (850)833-9165
- Salvation Army, (850)243-4531
- Catholic Social Services, (850)244-2825
- Sharing & Caring, (850)678-8459
- United Way referral line, call 2-1-1 from any phone.
- United Ministries (only provides assistance to families w/children) 257 E Lee St., Pensacola, (850)433-2333
- Catholic Social Services, 222 E. Government St., Pensacola, (850)436-6425
- Community Action Program (Tuesdays 8:15-9:15 am), 1308 W Garden St., Pensacola, (850)607-2088
- Salvation Army, 1501 North Q St., Pensacola, (850)432-1501
- First Baptist Church, (850)438-8907
- Olive Baptist Church, (850)473-4466
- Interfaith Ministries — Santa Rosa County residents, Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Milton, (850)934-8385
- We Care Ministries (United Methodist Church — Santa Rosa County residents, Navarre) (850)939-1005
- Family Resource Center, (850)626-2054
- Salvation Army, Santa Rosa County, (850)623-4099
- Tri County Community Council, 6607 Elva St., (850)981-0036