Austin Energy ready for cold weather

January 15, 2018

Austin Energy is prepared for the anticipated winter weather that is expected to bring below freezing temperatures and possible accumulations of ice to the area. Austin Energy has trouble shooters ready to respond to any downed lines or power outages due to ice accumulation. The utility has additional on-call crews to respond, if necessary, as well.

Austin Energy follows an extensive winter preparedness plan to ensure all of the generating units at the utility’s power plants are available for operation during freezing temperatures. Winter measures include insulating pipes that circulate water, installing heaters where necessary and inspecting any instrumentation that could be affected by the cold weather.

While the Electric Reliability Council of Texas does not anticipate any problems providing adequate electric power, there is always the risk of an unexpected energy shortage in the region. Austin Energy customers are encouraged to conserve energy when possible — especially during the early morning hours when people are waking up for school and work.

Here are ways to be prepared for outages before extreme weather hits.

Stay safe during power outages.

Customers are encouraged to sign up for outage alerts and monitor Austin Energy’s outage map.

Below are some easy measures to save energy and stay warm.

Thermostat
Set your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower during the day when you are home. Thermostats for heat pumps for electric heating should be lowered to 63 degrees at night or adjusted by no more than five degrees. Lower your thermostat further at night and when you will be gone for more than two hours during the day.

Lighting
Lighting accounts for about 10 percent of your energy use. Install LED light bulbs to save energy. Learn about how you can receive Austin Energy instant savings on LED bulbs here: austinenergy.com/go/leddiscount. Use daylight sensors on your outdoor lights. Use task lights instead of lighting an entire room.

Unplug
Electronics, chargers and appliances use energy even when they are turned off. Remember to use a smart power strip and cut off all power when not in use.
Blinds/shades
Open blinds/shades on any windows hit by direct sunlight to help heat your home or apartment. Close them at sundown to help keep heat inside.

Fireplace
When not in use, make sure your fireplace damper is closed to prevent heat from escaping up the chimney.

Furniture placement
Try lounging near interior walls if possible. Exterior walls and older windows may be drafty.

Weather strip
Caulk and weather strip around windows and entry doors to prevent drafts. Or, place towels at the bottom of doors and on window seals to help reduce heat loss and prevent cold air from coming in.

Gasket covers
Use gasket covers around electrical outlet covers to prevent cold air from coming in.

Water heaters and pipes
Insulate electric water heaters and hot water pipes to avoid wasting energy. Be sure to leave the air intake vent uncovered.

Laundry
Choose cold water to wash clothes to save energy and make clothes last longer. Wash full loads and clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to minimize running time.

Connect
Access Austin Energy’s web app to monitor your energy use from anywhere and avoid surprises on your bill. Get started today at austinenergyapp.com.
Take advantage of Austin Energy rebates for year-around weatherization and energy efficiency improvements to your home at www.austinenergy.com/go/healthyhome.

Last Updated: 1/17/18

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