“We’ve received a number of calls from customers because bills were higher,” Board of Light & Power Controller Kristin Kratt said this week.
Some BLP residential customers are seeing 50 percent hikes from June to July.
“What impacts a lot of people is that the air conditioner works a lot harder,” Kratt said. “When it is hot and humid, it is working a lot harder.”
With temperatures remaining hot all day and night in July, Kratt noted that many air conditioners and dehumidifiers ran 24 hours a day.
The BLP distributed 27.6 million megawatts of power to customers in July — a more than 4 million megawatt increase from June. It was 2.7 million megawatts more than July 2011.
“We already know it wasn’t a record breaker, but it was up there,” BLP spokeswoman Renee Molyneux said.
To help keep customers’ bills from skyrocketing in the future, the local municipal utility is spreading the word on how to save energy. Molyneux said the biggest way customers can save money in the summer is to raise the temperature on their air conditioning system.
“Even if they dial it up a couple of degrees, they will save money,” she said, adding that closing blinds during the day can also keep homes cooler.
Kratt said power usage will dip in the fall before rising in the winter. She said space heaters, furnaces and increased use of home lighting due to shorter days consume energy and cause usage to rise in the winter.
Here are some tips to help conserve energy in both the summer and winter:
• Use energy-intensive appliances between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
• Make sure your home is well insulated.
• Caulk windows.
• Turn off lights that aren’t in use.
• Set your thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter.
• Purchase energy-efficient appliances.
• Use space heaters on a limited basis.
Information from the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power