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Progress Energy offers advice to avoid getting scorched by summer electric bills

Simple changes can make a big difference at times of highest energy use

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (June 22, 2011) – During the summer months, Florida’s rising temperatures can cause a seasonal spike in customers’ electric bills. Progress Energy Florida urges customers to take control of their energy use by making simple, energy-efficient changes in their homes.

Consider that, when the outdoor temperature is about 5 degrees warmer than typical, maintaining a home’s internal temperature at 78 degrees may cost an average residential customer with an 1850-square-foot, single family home about $2 more per day. Individual customers’ bills may be higher or lower depending on a number of factors including: home and family size, cooling system efficiency, insulation level and temperature setting.

“While several days of unusually hot weather can lead to a noticeable increase in your electric bill, an extended period of scorching summer sun can make some customers’ energy bills spike,” said Kim Berghoefer, manager of residential energy efficiency programs for Progress Energy Florida. “We encourage customers to contact us for advice and help with energy-saving changes so they don’t have to pay the high price of inefficiency during the dog days of summer.”

Progress Energy recommends that customers take several steps to begin saving energy and money immediately.

  • Set the A/C to 78 or higher. The A/C is the largest consumer of energy in most Floridians’ homes, and the one that puts in the most overtime when the summer heat is at its highest. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher when cooling to maximize energy savings. For every degree the thermostat is set above 78, customers can save up to 10 percent on their cooling costs. Customers who set their thermostats to the recommended temperatures year-round could save about $300 in annual energy costs. Make saving energy even easier by investing in a programmable thermostat.
  • Become a fan of the fan. Ceiling fans offer an inexpensive alternative to setting the thermostat to a lower temperature. That’s because fans make people feel several degrees cooler without lowering the temperature in the room – all while using a fraction of the energy consumed by the A/C. Set the fan to turn counter-clockwise and be sure to turn it off when leaving the room.
  • Adjust the water heater. This is one simple – and often unnoticeable – change that will continue saving energy over time.  Set the water heater to 120o instead of 140o to save up to $85 in annual energy costs. If you head out of town, turn it off entirely. There’s no need to heat unused water. Plus, once turned back on, most models will reheat the water to the set temperature in about an hour.
  • Upgrade attic insulation. Think of it as adding another layer of protection between your living space and the harsh outdoors. Upgrading to insulation that’s rated R-30 is the best way to reduce high home cooling and heating costs. Following a Progress Energy Home Energy Check, customers may qualify for a rebate of $75 or more toward new insulation.
  • If you can stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Take your culinary quest to the grill instead. Using the oven in the heat of the summer forces a home’s A/C to work harder, raising electric bills. Grill outdoors instead of baking or roasting to save energy and money.
  • Let Progress Energy reduce your bill for you. Join Progress Energy’s EnergyWise HomeSM program and save up to $147 a year on your bill. EnergyWise Home is a free program that reduces participating customers’ energy usage during periods of unusually high demand. The program works by temporarily cycling power off and on to select electrical equipment such as water heaters, pool pumps, and heating and cooling systems.

These are just a few of the many things customers can do to save energy this summer. Customers seeking additional, customized advice for saving energy at home can sign up for a no-cost Progress Energy Florida Home Energy Check. Through this service, which can be performed online, over the phone or in person, the company’s Energy Advisors provide energy-saving recommendations and determine customers’ eligibility for company rebates toward energy-efficient improvements. To sign up for a no-cost Home Energy Check, call 1.888.302.8348 or visit

Progress Energy is an industry leader in the development and implementation of programs to help customers save energy and money. Through the company’s energy-efficiency programs, Progress Energy Florida’s customers have collectively saved more than $1 billion in energy costs since 1981, reducing the need for enough electricity to power more than 900,000 homes for a year. In all, Progress Energy Florida currently offers its customers 14 programs and more than 100 energy-efficiency upgrades to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprints.

For more information on Progress Energy’s programs, visit

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles, including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit



Media contact: Progress Energy Florida 24-hour media line, 866.520.6397
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