Extreme heat calls for caution: Local electric cooperative offers tips to stay safe and cool
thermometer with sun

More people die from extreme heat each year than from any other weather-related hazard, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Ready.gov site. Please keep these tips in mind during high summertime temperatures.

Extreme heat safety tips

  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat illness.
    • Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F) taken orally 
    • Red, hot and dry skin with no sweat
    • Rapid, strong pulse
    • Dizziness, confusion or unconsciousness
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses. 
  • Identify places in your community where you can go to get cool such as libraries and shopping malls or contact your local health department to find a cooling center in your area.
  • Cover windows with drapes or shades.
  • Weatherstrip doors and windows.
  • Use window reflectors specifically designed to reflect heat back outside.
  • Add insulation to keep the heat out
  • Use a powered attic ventilator, or attic fan, to regulate the heat level of a building's attic by clearing out hot air.
  • Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.

Energy efficiency and conservation measures can help

Electric bills soar along with the temperature, depending on your habits. While electric rates have not changed, electric bills increase when the temperature rises. While air conditioning is essential for comfort, it's also a big energy user in most homes. Here are some things you can do to save energy. 

  • Adjust the thermostat when your house is empty. Raising the temperature by just a few degrees on a daily basis can add up to big savings on your monthly energy bills.
  • Install a programmable thermostat and use it to optimize savings and comfort. Connected smart models provide advanced features, such as remote control and self-programming.
  • Check for gaps around windows and exterior doors. Seal any that you find with caulk or weatherstripping.
  • Regularly replace your system's air filter throughout the summer according to the manufacturer's instructions. A dirty filter can reduce indoor air quality and system performance.
  • Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day to keep out heat.

Tracking energy consumption is another great tool for saving energy. TCEC members have access to SmartHub™, a mobile app that allows members to see how much energy they are using on a daily basis. SmartHub can also show you what times during the day you are using the most electricity, helping you evaluate how your home uses power. Beyond its usage tracking function, SmartHub also offers a convenient way for consumers to pay their bills through the app, report outages and more. 

If you are unable to afford your cooling costs, weatherization or energy-related home repairs, contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/623 for help. TCEC can also provide resources that can help, such as local agencies and energy-saving recommendations. For more information, www.tcec.coop/save.

The power grid is stable

Some people are wondering about the power grid. Currently, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is not asking consumers to curb their electricity use. This appeal typically happens before TCEC would be required to start controlled service interruptions (outages). You can learn more about power grid conditions at https://spp.org/markets-operations/current-grid-conditions.

Stay informed

Please follow TCEC’s website at www.tcec.coop and social media channels. The cooperative will inform members in many ways if they need to conserve energy or if they are asked to implement outages.