NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville Electric Service asked customers Monday to lessen their energy use during this week's heatwave.
NES officials said this week's temperatures are bringing about heavy demand on the Tennessee Valley Authority. As a result, TVA is asking both residential and commercial customers to voluntarily reduce their usage as a precautionary measure beginning immediately until further notice.
“When temperatures are high for an extended period of time — like we are experiencing now — people use more energy, which can put a strain on the electrical system,” said Sylvia Smith, vice president of customer services for NES. “Our power grid is still capable of meeting demands during this time, but this voluntary request to conserve energy will help us continue to provide safe and reliable power to Nashville.”
But among the standard tips like turning off lights when you leave a room and using your microwave instead of the oven to cook, was a suggestion to set your thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.
"The purpose is to give everyone a heightened awareness that with extreme temperatures, system loading is high," said Jack Baxter with Nashville Electric Service. "Those actually are U.S. Department of Energy recommendations."
Those suggestions come from a 2009 report from Energy Star, a government partnership between the Department of Energy and the EPA.
Those same suggestions say customers should bump up the thermostat to 85 degrees during the day and bring it down to a balmy 82 degrees while you sleep.
The Department of Energy has since backed off those suggestions, saying Americans should set their thermostat to "whatever temperature they choose."
NES says even raising the temperature just a little bit from what you're used to will help save you money.
"So if you can push that up a couple of degrees, that'll help with energy bills, but everybody needs to do what's comfortable and what fits their lifestyle," Baxter said.
Here are ways you can reduce your energy footprint:
- Set your thermostat no lower than 78 degrees. Use ceiling fans to keep air flowing when you’re at home and to reduce the feels-like temperature when you’re in a room.
- Put off chores that involve electric appliances, such as dishwashing and laundry, during peak power times (10 a.m. – 8 p.m.).
- Use the microwave instead of the oven for cooking your meals.
- Turn off lights when you leave the room and unplug unused electronics.
- Keep garage doors closed as much as possible. This will help slow hot air from trickling into your home.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home to block out some of the heat, while opening blinds on the shady side to provide natural lighting without raising the temperature.
- Remember to turn a fan off when you leave the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.