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Blazing heat to last until fall in Carlsbad. Here's how to avoid power bill spikes

Carlsbad Current-Argus logo Carlsbad Current-Argus 8/5/2022 Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus
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Carlsbad wasn’t likely to escape triple-digit heat for the rest of the month, meaning residents could spend big to keep cool.

The area was forecast to see heat at or near 100 degrees for the rest of the week, with Thursday’s high of 102 degrees cooling slightly to a high of 99 degrees on Friday and Saturday, per the National Weather Service (NWS), and then highs of 97 and 96 degrees predicted for Sunday and Monday, respectively.

This picture taken on July 25, 2019 shows a thermometer indicating a temperature of over 40 degrees celsius, 104 fahrenheit at a Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute weather station at the Deelen Air Base in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The Netherlands hit a new high temperature record of 41.7 degrees on July 25, meteorologists said, as a heatwave turned large parts of Europe into a furnace. The new record was set in the eastern Dutch town of Deelen, the Meteorological Institute said. The record temperature measured here has been later declared invalid. © Vincent Jannink, AFP/Getty Images This picture taken on July 25, 2019 shows a thermometer indicating a temperature of over 40 degrees celsius, 104 fahrenheit at a Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute weather station at the Deelen Air Base in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The Netherlands hit a new high temperature record of 41.7 degrees on July 25, meteorologists said, as a heatwave turned large parts of Europe into a furnace. The new record was set in the eastern Dutch town of Deelen, the Meteorological Institute said. The record temperature measured here has been later declared invalid.

Aside from mild, 10 or 20 percent chances of scattered rains throughout the week, every day was expected to be clear and sunny, the NWS reported.

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Long-term forecasting from AccuWeather showed similar heat through the rest of August, with highs in the mid-to-upper 90s until Sept. 1 when the high was forecast at 88 degrees.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported household power loads almost double from an average use as low as roughly 300 million kilowatt hours in April to up to about 700 million kilowatt hours in July.

About 87 percent of homes in the U.S. have and use air conditioners, the EIA reported, which serve as a main driver of summer power use.

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New Mexico ranked 48th in its average monthly electricity cost $99 a month, tied with Colorado and higher than Utah at $91 a month and Washington, D.C. at $90 a month, per a July study from WallatHub.

New Mexico had a total home energy cost of about $377 a month, combining electricity expenses with monthly motor fuel, natural gas and home heating oil.

Wyoming had the highest costs with an average of $738 on electricity per month, followed by Alaska with $625 a month and North Dakota at $611 a month.

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The state’s low ranking, per the study, was likely attributed to higher average temperatures reducing the need for home heating use, but experts warned during the summer months, costs could climb much higher than the rest of the year.

To combat this higher usage, thus higher costs, Xcel Energy suggested setting thermostats at 78 degrees, which the utility said would cool homes more efficiently.

Customers should also position trees and shrubs to shade outdoor air conditioning units, which can help them run up to 10 percent more efficiently.

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Replacing dirty air filters can lower an air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent, Xcel reported, while turning down air conditioners when at work, away or asleep can save up to $180 a month on energy bills.

Residents should also spend more time in basements or lower levels of their homes which require less air conditioning, while keeping window shades closed and running ceiling fans.

Other strategies were hanging clothes outside to dry rather than using electric driers than can add heat to a home, and grilling food outside instead of cooking in an oven.

Turning temperatures up 7 to 10 degrees from normal could save 10 percent per year on energy bills, Xcel reported.

LED bulbs were recommended as they use 70 to 90 less energy, and last 15 times longer, per Xcel’s report, also contending homeowners should have their houses tested for air leaks that can allow cold air to escape.

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Brad Baldridge, Xcel director of customer and community relations in Texas and New Mexico said the company’s recent expansion of wind power will also save customers on fuel costs associated with electricity generation.

“Xcel Energy is working to hold down costs by leaning on our abundant wind energy resources, which use the free and abundant wind to generate electricity while saving millions on fuel costs,” he said in a statement.

“And we’re helping customers make their homes and businesses more energy efficient without sacrificing comfort to hold down costs now and throughout the year.”

Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) advised residents to unplug devices not in use to curb electricity use, while also using cold water to wash clothes.

PNM also suggested service air conditioners as summer heat sets in, relying on natural lighting rather lamps or fixtures in the home and sealing windows and air ducts.

PNM estimated air loss from leaky ducts can account for up to 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption.

Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, achedden@currentargus.com or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Carlsbad Current-Argus: Blazing heat to last until fall in Carlsbad. Here's how to avoid power bill spikes

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