This Memorial Day weekend will feature some summer-like temperatures that will be coupled with heat indices exceeding 100 degrees.

That has Gulf Power customers already cranking up their cooling systems to beat the heat and, at the same time, looking for ways to save on their energy bills.

“Extended days of above average hot weather can lead to higher energy usage,” said Gordon Paulus, Gulf Power spokesperson. “There are some simple actions customers can take today to minimize the impact on their energy bills. Because almost half of the energy usage in your home is from heating and cooling, adjusting the thermostat as high as comfortably possible will help customers save money.”

One way that Gulf Power helps customers keep their summer energy bills from spiking is offering a program called Budget Billing. The free service averages the highs and lows of their electric bills by giving them an average price to pay each month. A plan is customized for each customer based on the past 12 months of their energy usage in their current location. Sign up online at MyGulfPower.com.

As summer approaches, typically one of the peak energy usage seasons, Gulf Power wants to remind customers of four free tips that can be used to reduce energy usage and smooth out energy bills:

  1. Keep heat out: Close your blinds and drapes during the day to prevent heat gain.
  2. Adjust thermostat: The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. The standard energy industry recommendation is to set your thermostat to 78 degrees or the highest temperature where you can still be comfortable. For every degree below 78 degrees, you’ll use 5-10 percent more energy to cool your home.
  3. A fan of fans: Ceiling fans offer an inexpensive alternative to setting the thermostat to a lower temperature because fans make you feel several degrees cooler without lowering the temperature in the room — all while using a fraction of the energy consumed by the A/C. Set the fan to turn counter-clockwise in the summer and be sure to turn it off when leaving the room.
  4. Reduce heat production: Avoid using the oven during the summer and, instead, cook on the grill, use the microwave or stove top, or prepare meals that don’t require cooking. Replace heat-producing incandescent light bulbs with cooler and energy-efficient lighting. In fact, LEDs last about 10 times longer and produce four times more light than standard incandescent bulbs for the same amount of energy.

For more comprehensive energy-savings tips, check out: Prevent hot summer months from scorching your energy bill with hot weather tips and visit GulfPower.com.