For immediate release: January 11, 2001
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989
Energy Commission Offers Consumers
A 'High Five' to Save Energy
Tips to Reduce Today's Energy Shortage in California
California's Independent System Operator has declared a Stage 3. Energy conservation is urgently needed to manage the available reserves of electricity, especially between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. today, January 11, 2001.
There are important measures consumers can take to help reduce the pressure on the State's overburdened electricity system. To help reduce electricity demand, the Energy Commission suggests consumers immediately take the following five steps to conserve energy.
Five important things you can do to help California save electricity during an Electricity Shortage
- Turn the thermostat down to 68 degrees or below. Reduce setting to 55 degrees or less before retiring or when away for the day.
- Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dish and clothes dryers and electric ovens.
- Close off vents to rooms that are not being used.
- Turn off all non-essential electrical lights.
- Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through your windows.
What to do at the Office
- Minimize heating by keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees or below.
- Wear comfortable business attire. Dress appropriately for cooler temperatures.
- Turn off any lights that are not needed, especially in unused offices and conference rooms.
- Turn down the remaining lighting levels if you can.
- Turn off your computer if you are out of the office for more than a few minutes.
- Some computers have a „low power stand by¾ mode. Check to see if your computer is set for it.
- If a Stage 3 is imminent, back up your computer and don't forget to frequently save what you are working on, to be ready if the power goes off.
These actions can be taken quickly to reduce electricity consumption. With a little bit of planning, you can save even more energy and money.
Keeping Your Home Comfortable When It's Cold Outside
Check your heating ducts to make sure that they are properly connected and not leaking air. Studies show that one out of every four homes loses as much as one-third of their heating (or cooling) from bad ducts. Repair them as needed, using approved materials and methods.
Insulation, properly installed, offers the single most effective means of conserving energy in the home ã it provides a thermal blanket around the house. Install it yourself, or hire an insulation contractor. Purchase insulation materials by the „R¾ factor. In general, R-30 is recommended for ceilings and R-19 for walls. The greater the „R¾ factor, the greater the insulating value. Properly installed, roll or blown bulk materials of the same „R¾ value offer the same insulation.
In glass areas, prevent winter heat loss with dual glass panes. Draperies also provide effective insulation, especially those that are thermal-lined.
Draw draperies and window shades to limit heat loss. Open them during the day to let sunshine in.
As much as 18 percent of your home's heating loss can be through building openings. Stop this loss by weather-stripping all doors and windows and caulking openings.
Consider installing a clock thermostat to automatically set back your thermostat at night. Never cover the thermostat with draperies or decorations. So do not put lamps, television sets or appliances that produce heat close to the thermostat.
If you have a waterbed, be sure to make your bed and save up to one-third of the energy it uses.
Use bathroom heaters sparingly, if at all.
Regularly replace or clean filters.
In the Kitchen . . . A Dash of Conservation Can Make a Big Difference
Plan meals that can be cooked together in the oven all at once to make full use of the energy it takes to heat your oven. Do not preheat your broiler or range ã it only wastes energy. Avoid opening the oven door when baking. Taking a „peek¾ wastes energy. Never use the oven as a room heater. Microwave cuisine is faster, more efficient than conventional cooking. It can save a lot of your time and energy too! Learn more about pressure cookers. They prepare foods in two thirds less time and many people say the final product is more flavorful than conventional cooking. Wash only full loads of dishes in your dishwasher. Let the dishes air dry by turning the washer off after the last rinse cycle and opening the door slightly.
If the Power Goes Off
An electricity curtailment is a controlled event that can occur during a Stage 3. If one is implemented in your area, the electricity should come back on within two hours. Until then, use the warmest part of the house.
- Drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out in a rolling blackout. Consider each intersection to be a four-way stop, and drive defensively. If you are a pedestrian, be extra alert, since normal traffic patterns are disrupted.
- Be sure you have flashlights and fresh batteries.
- If you use candles to light your home during a rolling blackout, be extremely careful to avoid starting a fire.
- Dress to stay warm in cold weather. A warm hat and socks can help you reduce the amount of heat loss through your head and feet.
- Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Food inside should stay cold for hours if the door is left closed.
- Check on your elderly neighbors or those who may have medical conditions or use medical machinery that operates on electricity.
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