National Grid offers tips for beating the heat, staying safe as temperatures soar in North Country
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 9:20 am

With high temperatures predicted to continue today throughout St. Lawrence County, National Grid is reminding customers there are ways to stay cool and safe as temperatures rise.

“National Grid prepares for extreme weather and makes sure the electric system is well maintained to help reduce the number of power outages during heat waves when electricity use can soar and harsh weather can strike,” said Keith McAfee, Vice President, Upstate New York Operations. “We want customers to be prepared too.”

The company also offered tips on how to use energy wisely in extreme heat, without spending excess money or sacrificing comfort.

Stay Cool

National Grid offers its customers some simple and cool summer tips on how to beat the heat without increasing their energy costs.

• Turn off ceiling fans, close the drapes – Ceiling fans don’t actually cool your home; they only circulate air to make you feel cooler. Therefore, they are most effective when you’re home to enjoy the benefits. Turn them off when you’re not home and save energy in the process. Also, draw blinds, shades or drapes to block the sunlight during the hottest part of the day, especially on south and west-facing windows.

• Put off heat generating activity – Cool things down by reducing the amount of heat generated in your home. Turn off lights when they are not needed, and avoid cooking, bathing or washing clothes during the hottest hours of the day.

• Use electric fans (floor and window) – Electric fans use very little electricity costing approximately $9 to $11 per months for continuous use and can provide relief from the heat.

• Adjust the thermostat – Air conditioners cool a space at the same rate no matter what the setting. Adjusting the temperature control to 65 degrees will not help cool your home to 78 degrees any more quickly than if you leave the temperature at 78, but switching to the lower setting may be costing you more money. Also, a 75-degree setting will cost about 18 percent more than a 78-degree setting. To optimize air conditioning systems set the thermostat on your air conditioner as high as comfort will permit.

• Use programmable thermostats – Use of programmable thermostats optimizes air conditioning systems, helping to boost energy savings. National Grid offers a $25 rebate for each seven-day programmable thermostat that you install (maximum two per household).

• Change air conditioner filters – Remember to keep the air flowing freely. Check your air conditioner filters and replace or clean them if they’re clogged

• Check refrigerator and freezer temps – The ideal refrigerator temperature is between 37 and 40 degrees. For the freezer the ideal reading is 5 degrees. It is important to keep you refrigerator full so they do not have to work as hard to stay cold. This can drastically lower the amount of energy they would ordinarily need to function properly.

National Grid also offers many programs and incentives to help customers take control of their energy use and save on monthly bills. These include incentives for energy-efficient equipment purchases and improvements from programmable thermostats to boilers, furnaces and hot water heaters.

Also, property owners or building managers of apartments/condos with five to 50 units may qualify for comprehensive energy efficiency services based on the results of a free energy assessment performed by a qualified Energy Specialist.

For more energy saving tips or to learn more about National Grid’s energy efficiency programs visit www.nationalgridus.com.

Safety First

Lightning and strong winds can bring down power lines and lead to power outages. National Grid wants everyone to stay safe as power is being restored. Here are some tips to help customers avoid injuries and stay safe:

• Always use extreme caution near wires and power lines—for your own safety, treat them as though they are live and deadly. Never touch downed power lines or anything coming in contact with fallen lines, and don't walk beneath overhead equipment, lines or wires. If you see a downed power line, keep everyone away and call us immediately at 1-800-867-5222.

• Please drive carefully and use caution when driving near any repair crews working to restore power.

• Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.

• If you use a generator, make sure your home or office electrical wiring is disconnected from our power lines before you operate your generator. This requires that the main circuit breaker in your electric service panel box is in the off position or, in older electric service panel boxes, that the main fuse block is removed. This prevents your generator's electricity from going back into the power lines in the street, which could endanger line crews and your neighbors. Never operate a generator indoors and be sure to carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s safety instructions.

• People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a National Grid life support customer, call the company’s Customer Service Contact Center at 1-800-642-4272.