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Black Hills Energy is closely monitoring the National Weather Service forecast for a winter storm and extreme cold temperatures predicted to impact Arkansas and other states. Operations teams are preparing for possible snow accumulation and sub-zero temperatures.
With sustained cold and freezing temperatures in the forecast, energy use can increase and lead to higher monthly bills. Black Hills Energy is ready to help customers reduce energy use by sharing these conservation reminders and tips:
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning the thermostat down a few degrees for eight hours a day can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling costs.
- As much as 7-12% of a building’s heating and cooling loss occurs around windows and doors. Using weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows to seal holes or gaps will reduce energy waste.
- Lowering the water heater setting to under 120 degrees can save up to 10% on water heater costs.
- Limiting doing laundry and running the dishwasher until temperatures normalize and considering energy efficiency strategies will lessen the impact. Examples include running complete loads of laundry to avoid using more hot water than necessary; changing the dishwasher setting to air dry; and propping the door open once dishes are washed and allow them to air dry.
- Closing the fireplace damper tightly when not in use could save 8% of a home’s heat.
Natural gas safety
Snow and ice buildup on natural gas meters can create a safety hazard and cut off the flow of natural gas to heating equipment and appliances. Black Hills Energy is also urging customers to keep their homes safe with these guidelines.
- Gently clear snow away by hand or with a broom. Do not use a shovel, ice pick or other sharp tools, which could result in damages and make the situation worse.
- Keep shovels away from gas meters and other above-ground equipment.
- Carefully clear snow away from the outdoor vent on high-efficiency furnaces and gas water heaters. These appliances will not run safely and efficiently if the vents are blocked.
- Safely remove ice buildup from overhead eaves that could fall and damage gas meters.
- Point out the meter and above-ground utility structures to anyone who may help with snow removal.
- Make sure the carbon monoxide detector has fresh batteries and is functioning properly.
Stay up to date by visiting blackhillsenergy.com/weather. Customers can find winter energy conservation and payment resources at blackhillsenergy.com/winter-ready, as well as receive outage notifications by logging into their account at blackhillsenergy.com.
Customers are also encouraged to sign up for Budget Billing, a free payment plan that averages the amount owed each month.
For payment assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) opened for heating assistance Jan. 8. Arkansans may also dial 2-1-1 or 1-866-489-6983 to speak with an Arkansas 211 community resource specialist, text their zip code to 898-211 (TXT211) or search resources at Arkansas211.org. Arkansas 211 administers the Black Hills Cares energy assistance program in Arkansas.