Gulf Power offers cold weather tips
While December brought in warmer than usual temperatures, the new year looks to usher in cooler temperatures and more seasonable weather. With the thermometer starting to move downward, Gulf Power is urging its customers to begin preparing now for the cold temperatures that will move across Northwest Florida.
Tips to save money and energy
• A fireplace is not always an efficient heat source. If not used properly it can actually make the rest of the house cooler because airflow up the chimney can remove the heated air.
• An electric blanket is more economical than heating the entire house all night long.
• Use a portable electric heater to heat only a small area. Purchase models that are thermostatically controlled. Keep it at least 3 feet from items that could catch fire such as curtains or furniture. Make sure you have working smoke detectors on every floor and in every sleeping room of your house.
• Make sure vents and return air registers are not blocked by furniture, draperies, doors or other obstacles.
• Don’t use your oven to heat your home — it’s not efficient and most importantly, it’s dangerous.
Prepare your home for the entire winter season
• Heating a house makes up about half of your electricity bill so set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower in the winter. For every degree higher you set your thermostat, it will cost you 10 percent more.
• Programmable thermostats are a good investment, or you can take advantage of Gulf Power’s Energy Select. Energy Select is Gulf Power’s free advanced energy management program that offers a lower price for electricity 87 percent of the time. Energy Select features a programmable thermostat and a special rate of four price periods based upon time of day, day of week and season. Contact Gulf Power at 1-877-655-4001 to learn more.
Heating and cooling equipment
• The system heating your home is extremely important. If it’s an older, less-efficient unit, upgrading to a high efficiency air-source heat pump might be a wise choice. Contact Gulf Power at 1-877-655-4001 to learn more.
• Routine maintenance — A well-maintained heating system runs more efficiently. A complete tune-up of the home heating system can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 or more, but this is a worthwhile investment and can reduce your heating bill from 3 to 10 percent. Some companies offer regular service contracts, which are convenient if you tend to forget system maintenance. Rebates are available for some maintenance and duct repair. Remember to replace the filter every month.
• Ductwork — Duct leakage can account for 20 percent of the heating and cooling cost. Getting ducts sealed should be at the top of the list for making your home energy efficient.
Weather-stripping and caulking
Customers can get a free Energy Checkup online or at your home with an appointment. Gulf Power energy experts will analyze your house and electricity use, and look for ways to make the house more energy efficient. Just go to www.gulfpower.com/energycheckup or call 1-877-655-4001.
Additional help for customers having difficulty paying their bills
Additional help is available for customers who might have difficulty paying their bills this winter season.
Gulf Power customer service representatives are available 24 hours/7 days a week to discuss payment and billing options with customers. To speak with a representative, call 1-800-225-5797 or visit MyGulfPower.com for information about the programs or to make payment arrangements.
Some of the billing or payment programs include:
· Gulf Power participates with the Salvation Army in Project SHARE, a program that provides emergency assistance to those who need help with energy bills. Project SHARE and other non-profit programs assist the elderly, the disabled, the sick and others experiencing financial hardship. Eligible customers can apply for Project SHARE assistance at The Salvation Army office in their county. Eligibility requirements for Project SHARE recipients are set by The Salvation Army. Gulf Power customers can donate to the program by indicating so on their power bill.
· Gulf Power offers a bill payment option called Budget Billing. Budget Billing can “level” monthly payments so customers can know approximately how much their bill will be each month and avoid high cost fluctuations caused by increased energy purchases during very cold or hot periods.
· The WAP (Weatherization Assistance Program) and LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) are federal and statewide programs that help pay energy bills for low-income households. To find out more about qualifications, contact your county’s local WAP and/or LIHEAP agency, which can be found on the Florida Department of Economic Development’s website at Floridajobs.org in the Community Services section.
Gulf Power also has many programs to help customers save money by making their homes and businesses more energy efficient. Visit www.mygulfpower.com./earthcents to learn more.
If severe weather impacts Northwest Florida, Gulf Power’s system can detect power outages. Customers will be able to view outages in their area from our interactive outage map that shows how and when power is being restored. Gulf Power customers can also download the new full-service app for smart phones and mobile devices, and view or report an outage, Customers can also sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 694853, or sign up for email or voice alerts un the My Account tab at www.mygulfpower.com.
Gulf Power is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 447,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity while strengthening our communities. Visit online at MyGulfPower.com or on the company’s Facebook page. News information can be found at GulfPowerNews.com.