NEW YORK – Another burst of hot weather looms this weekend, and Con Edison is reminding customers about the best ways to stay cool and save money while doing it.
Saving on your electric bill is easy if you follow Con Edison’s energy-saving tips:
1. Turn off air conditioners, lights, and other appliances before leaving home. Use a timer to have your air conditioner turn on shortly before you’re scheduled to arrive home;
2. Make sure air conditioner filters are clean so the machines will run at peak efficiency;
3. Set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees. Each degree lower increases cooling costs by 6 percent;
4. If you have a room air-conditioning unit, close off the rooms not being used; if you have central air, block vents in unused or vacant rooms;
5. To reduce heat and moisture in your apartment or home, run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it’s generally cooler outside. Use a microwave to cook, or barbecue outside, if possible;
6. Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed. About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows. Simply drawing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat in your apartment or home, and,
7. Try using fans instead of air conditioners, but be sure to leave your windows open for ventilation. Fans use as little as one-tenth the energy as air conditioners.
Con Edison also urges customers with central air conditioning to accept the company’s offer of a free programmable thermostat for homeowners, religious institutions and small businesses. The thermostat can be programmed manually or from the internet. To learn more, call 1-866-521-8600 or visit www.coned.com/cool .
The company also reminds customers that $25 rebates are available for customers who invest in cost-cutting Energy Star-rated room air conditioners. Applications for the $25 rebate can be downloaded at www.coned.com/roomacrebates .
Con Edison has invested $1.2 billion for system improvements this year, including $928 million for cables, transformers, and network protectors, $34 million for transmission upgrades, and $208 million on new substation installations and related equipment. (See http://www.coned.com/summerprep  for details.)
Despite that, sustained hot weather sometimes triggers service problems or power interruptions. If that occurs, customers can report them, and also view any service restoration information, either online at www.conEd.com , on their cell phones, or on their PDAs. Customers also may call Con Edison at 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).
When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power. Customers who report outages will be called by Con Edison with their estimated restoration times as they become available.
Energy-savings tips are also available on Facebook at Power of Green, on Twitter @ConEdSara and by downloading the company’s Power of Green iPhone app.
Con Edison’s Green Team continues to offer a host of energy-savings programs for homes and businesses. Customers can take steps to reduce energy usage this summer with rebates and incentives now available for energy-efficient appliances and cooling systems in their homes and businesses. To learn more or enroll, go to www.coned.com/GreenTeam  or call 1-877-870-6118.