Limited energy supply threatens blackouts in southern Colorado and nationwide

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Limited energy supplies can make it difficult for states to meet electricity demand not just in southern Colorado but across the country, according to Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU).

Threats of continued blackouts and brownouts are making headlines across the country due to extreme heat forecast in Texas as well as the effects of drought on hydroelectric generation in the West, according to CSU.

Electronics, lighting and appliances contribute about 26% of Colorado’s household electricity consumption, CSU said. However, cooling and heating systems are the biggest consumer of electricity in most homes, accounting for over 55% of usage.

CSU is ready to cover electricity demands this summer for southern Colorado, but encourages the public to conserve energy as much as possible.

“We have a 24-hour energy office that will balance our community’s supply and demand in real time and make incremental or decremental decisions for our power plants, purchases or sales to optimize our resources to meet the needs of our customers,” said Alex Baird, Energy Portfolio Manager for CSU.

Tips for using less energy indoors this summer:

  • Portable ceiling fans are an effective alternative to air conditioning.
  • Using window coverings during the day will keep your home cooler, especially where direct sunlight enters.
  • Make sure ceiling fans spin counterclockwise to push cool air down.
  • Close blinds and blinds on windows to prevent the sun from heating up your home.
  • Program your thermostat to 78 degrees when you’re home and a higher temperature when you’re away.
  • Wait for the cooler evening hours to run large appliances.
  • Grill outdoors instead of turning on the oven.
  • Change your cooling system filter every 30 days and have a qualified contractor perform an annual check.
  • Get $50 off qualifying ENERGY STAR smart thermostat models.

When the weather is right this summer, take the time to prepare your home for more efficient energy use this winter:

  • Weatherstripping doors and windows to reduce the amount of air loss from your home. Weatherstripping comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, so be sure to choose the right type for your project.
  • Schedule the replacement of windows and doors if necessary.
  • Caulk the exterior of your home where the siding or trim meets the masonry or siding. This is usually at corners or walls, and where the siding overlaps the foundation.
  • Look for cracks, gaps and holes around interior and exterior doors, window frames, walls and vents.
  • Look for gaps around exterior and interior walls around sinks, exterior cable TV fronts, telephone lines, and where natural gas or power lines enter the house.

By using energy wisely, the public will not only be more efficient at managing bills, but will also help the entire system by compensating for peaks in demand, CSU says.

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