For Immediate Release: June 21, 2018

Summer is here! Stay safe, beat the heat and save some money too

SMUD offers tips to affordably be safe, cool and comfortable

Another summer is here and heat waves are upon us. While summer is the time to have outdoor fun, it’s also time to think about safety first. Part of staying safe is staying cool. Safety is a guiding principle at SMUD, and public and employee safety is paramount.

Power reliability is also one of the top jobs SMUD aims to achieve every day, and it is a core value at SMUD. SMUD wants customers to know that crews are ready to respond safely and quickly in the event of power outages. SMUD has enough power resources to meet summer demand—barring a regional or state grid emergency like a wildfire near high-voltage lines or equipment.

While SMUD customers enjoy some of the lowest rates in California, air-conditioning needs can drive customer usage and bills. It’s easy to keep energy use in check without giving up cooling comfort. The first step is keeping your home from heating up, which can reduce immediate cooling costs and help save on long-term costs from wear and tear on cooling equipment. The list below advises no-cost and low-cost strategies, and if necessary, long-term and money-saving investments through SMUD’s rebates and financing programs:

No-cost energy saving:

  • Keep windows and drapes closed during the heat of the day.
  • Set the thermostat at 78 or higher in the summer. (Reduce cooling costs up to 10 percent more for every degree raised.)
  • Fans use 90 percent less energy than the AC. Use small fans or ceiling fans instead.
  • Adjust ceiling fans to turn counter-clockwise so they blow air down during the summer.
  • Turn off unneeded lights.
  • Give appliances a break—clothes dryers get hot. Use a clothes line instead?
  • Prepare cold meals that don’t require cooking. If you must cook, use the microwave.
  • Get rid of the old fridge or freezer in the garage. SMUD will pick it up and give you cash.
  • Set timers on pool and spa pumps to run before 1:00 p.m. or after 9:00 p.m.

Low-cost energy saving:

  • Change the HVAC filter. Systems with dirty filters can use 5 to 10 percent more energy.
  • Install weather stripping, black-out curtains, programmable thermostat and LED lighting.

Long-term investments:

  • Upgrade the home’s insulation, windows, HVAC system, and other appliances.
  • Invest in the future by planting free SMUD shade trees. They help cool the home, add property value and curb appeal. Choose trees online at smud.org.

In addition to staying cool and comfortable, SMUD is here to help customers with many tips to keep in mind for their own safety during the summer heat. Extreme heat conditions can be hazardous. SMUD urges the public, like it does its own employees, to stay hydrated and know the signs of heat-related illness. Here are some more tips to keep in mind while working and playing outdoors:

  • Keep children and pets a safe distance away when you operate a mower, chain saw or other power equipment.
  • Always turn off and unplug the tool or appliance you are using before making adjustments or repairs.
  • Don't use any electrical tool or appliance in the rain or on wet surfaces, or while standing in water.
  • Use only weather-resistant heavy gauge extension cords marked "For Outdoor Use."
  • If a cord overheats, turn off the appliance or tool.
  • Keep cords out of your path or work area.
  • Install shock-protecting Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) on outdoor outlets.
  • Never leave electrical equipment or yard tools unattended.
  • If an electrical tool falls into water, always unplug it before reaching into the water to retrieve it.
  • Planning to trim trees? Avoid contacting power lines, whether directly or with another object. If a tree limb is in contact with a power line do not trim it. Call our tree trimming employees at 1-916-732-5854.
  • Before digging in your yard, take precautions against coming into contact with buried power lines. Learn the exact location of underground power lines that cross your property. Call 811 or visit usanorth811.org to request a utility-locate before each job at least two full business days before you dig.

To learn more energy-saving tips and find out how to take advantage of our energy efficiency rebates and incentives, visit smud.org.