With soaring temperatures in the high 90s, OUC electric demand set a new all-time record in St. Cloud on Thursday, June 23. Air conditioners working to cool homes and offices pushed demand by OUC’s St. Cloud customers to 230 Megawatts (MW), up from the previous record of 222 MW on Wednesday, June 15.

While OUC has adequate generation to support the demand, higher electric consumption can lead to higher bills – so customers are encouraged to take steps to conserve.

To help keep electric bills in check when the temperatures rise, OUC recommends the following:

  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Each degree you lower the thermostat below 78 degrees can cost you six to eight percent more on your cooling costs.
  • eep your A/C (central, window and split units) set to auto, so the fan isn’t constantly turning.
  • Use ceiling fans to make rooms feel cooler. Make sure they’re turning counter clockwise, but don’t forget to turn them off when the room is empty.
  • Replace your air filter regularly.
  • Consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can help save up to 10 percent on cooling costs.
  • Use shades, drapes and blinds to keep the sun and heat out, especially on windows that face east or west.
  • Close windows and outside doors while the air conditioner is on.
  • Caulk and place weather strips around leaky windows and doors.
  • Wash only full loads in dishwashers and clothing washers. Using hot water can add about 90 percent to the cost of each load, so consider using cold water.
  • Clear your dryer vent regularly to prevent fires and improve efficiency.
  • Check your water heater temperature to ensure it is set to no more than 125 degrees, otherwise you’re wasting energy.

For more tools to help save energy and money, visit ouc.com/waystosave.