We’re in the midst of a heat wave this week, resulting in high electricity use on the New England electric grid. We can all help reduce energy demand, costs, and the region’s carbon footprint by reducing our energy use.

Here are some tips: 

  • Set air conditioners to as high a temperature as possible, and use ceiling fans if you have them.
  • Shut off air conditioners when you are going to be away.
  • Make sure windows and doors are closed when air conditioning is on.
  • Close shades or drapes to block the sun. 
  • Shut off any lights and other appliances that are not essential. 

On especially hot days like we expect this week, the electric grid experiences “peak” hours, usually from 3 to 9 pm. Just 1 percent of the hours in the year account for 8 percent of the cost for New England utilities, and 10 percent of the hours account for 40 percent of the cost. Because the utilities have to build capacity for these peak events, the costs skyrocket.

 On particularly hot days, consider:

  • Turning the air conditioner down or off.
  • Avoid using large appliances until the evening (e.g., washing machines, dryers, dishwashers).
  • Wait to charge portable devices until the evening.
  • If you have an electric car, charge it before or after the peak.