80ºF

Keeping JEA bills down when temperatures go up

VIDEO: A hard freeze will hit our area but does it have to hit your wallet? JEA gives some tips on how to stay warm while keeping your electric bill down.
VIDEO: A hard freeze will hit our area but does it have to hit your wallet? JEA gives some tips on how to stay warm while keeping your electric bill down.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Temperatures have reached the high 90s for several days, and it's not even officially summer yet.

The hot weather can spike homeowners' electric bills, and JEA said the city has already beaten last year's summer peak amount of electricity used. JEA customers used 2,725 megawatts of electricity Wednesday. that tops last year's peak of 2,693 megawatts, which happened in August.

The all-time one-day peak of use was 2,937 megawatts, set in 2007. 

Wednesday also saw this year's peak water use, so far, with more than 163 million gallons. The all-time record for water use was set in 2006 at more than 184 million gallons. 

JEA officials said 50 percent of electricity costs in the summer come from air conditioning, so it's important to maintain the temperature of a house and to remember to adjust accordingly when away from home.

"Before I leave to go to work, I turn off everything except for the fridge, and I turn off every light in the house to keep my bill down," Lethesia Haley said. "It's hard, because it's hot out here, but you want to keep your air on."

Everyone in Florida is already trying to beat the heat, running the AC but also wanting to keep electric bills low. 

"I'll run the AC a little bit, but I'm trying to save money," Carrod Watson said. "But it's going to be tough because it's a hot summer."

JEA officials recommend keeping the thermostat set to 78 degrees during the day and bumping it up to 82 or 83 degrees when not at home.

Another recommendation is to avoid using the oven in the summer months, because it lets out more heat into the house. Instead, try using an outdoor grill or using a microwave more often.

Also, take advantage of ceiling fans and portable fans.

"Portable fans are wonderful and the really unique thing about fans is you use them and that lowers the temp by 3 to 5 degrees," JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce.

Another way unwanted heat can get inside a home is when blinds are kept open, so close them to help lower electric bills.

To see how well you're conserving energy, go to JEA.com.

"You can look at your energy use everyday and how it relates to the temperature," Boyce said. "You can see how much energy you're using, so if you see, 'I used a lot yesterday,' (you can say,) 'What can I do differently today?'"

Another tool JEA.com has is called My Budget. It's a payment plan that evens out monthly electricity bills by averaging payments over 12 months, so users pay about the same each month, instead of seeing drastic differences between seasons.