Sizzling summer-like temperatures coupled with heat indices exceeding 100 degrees arrived well ahead of the first day of summer, today.

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 bills,” said Kimberly Blair, Gulf Power spokesperson. “There are immediate actions customers can take, today, to take control of their power bill, like adjusting their thermostat as high as comfortably possible. Almost half of the energy in your home goes to cooling.”

As we enter summer, typically one of the peak energy usage seasons, we want to point out six top tips that are free and can be used on a daily basis that helps customers control their power usage:

  1. Keep the heat out: Close your blinds and drapes during the day to prevent heat gain.
  2. Even out highs and lows: Customers can keep their summer energy bills from busting their budget, is by signing up for 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.
  3. 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. For every degree below 78 degrees, you’ll use 5-10 percent more energy to cool your home.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 about of energy.
  6. Control energy use: Join Gulf Power’s Energy Select, a free energy management program that will allow you to pay a lower price for your electricity 87 percent of the time.

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.