By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator
With College Station residents sheltering in place during the COVID-19 outbreak, households are using substantially more electricity.
Here are 10 ways you can trim your electric costs:
- The most essential step is raising your thermostat setting. Just two degrees above your usual setting can cut your cooling costs by five percent.
- Use ceiling fans rather than air conditioning as much as possible. Fans use about as much energy as a light bulb.
- Turn off lights, fans, and electronics when a room is unoccupied.
- Replace incandescent and CFL lighting with low-wattage LEDs, which use 50-90 percent less energy.
- Do your laundry in the evening or at night when temperatures are cooler.
- Use cold water to wash your clothes.
- Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load.
- Check your air conditioning filter and replace it frequently. Dirty filters can increase costs by about 20 percent.
- Consider a Wi-Fi programmable thermostat, which allows precise control of your cooling system.
- 10. Take advantage of our Energy Back II, Residential LED Lighting, and Connected Thermostat rebates.
Report power outages, water line breaks, wastewater spills, and backups, and other electric, water, or wastewater problems to 855.528.4278 — and have your CSU account number ready. Our dispatch operates 24 hours a day.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our community, College Station Utilities remains committed to providing you with reliable electric power while taking the proper precautions to protect the health and safety of our staff.
For more information on how to reduce your electricity costs, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979-764-6343. For billing questions, contact Utility Customer Service at 979-764-3535.
Patrick McIntyre is the energy coordinator for College Station Utilities and is responsible for energy conservation and key accounts programs. Pat joined CSU as a key accounts representative in 2009. He previously worked for 17 years in the manufacturing sector and eight years as a consultant with the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Pat graduated from Texas A&M in 1982 with B.S. in Industrial Distribution and has lived in the area since 1984.
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Unfortunately, power and water outages happen. When they do, it’s important for College Station Utilities customers to let us know promptly. If you simply assume your neighbor has already reported it, service restoration may be delayed. Your timely report also helps us determine the size of the outage.
Of course, you may be one of the many customers who have tried to call our emergency number but received nothing but a busy signal — if you weren’t dropped completely. When your lights are out, it can be a highly frustrating experience. Thankfully, those days will soon be history.
Okay, we admit it. We’re not perfect.
But we were awfully close in the annual audit of College Station Utilities’ commercial sanitation billing. The audit revealed that out of about 980 commercial accounts, we had a single error. That’s right, just one. And it was for an under-billing.
Can you imagine a major league baseball player who made just one error in 980 chances?
College Station Utilities takes pride in producing accurate bills to our customers. In most cases, the service level doesn’t change once the account is set up, except with commercial sanitation billing. Businesses are provided services and charged by a variable rate schedule that depends on the volume of waste they generate. This means they can change their internal procedures to change the amount of waste they produce. When this happens, we may need to adjust the number of days we collect their waste, or we may even need to remove their container and place a different one at their location. The billing is then changed to reflect the new level of service.