A Message from the General Manager
Though folks around the country don’t usually associate our state with harsh winter conditions, sometimes those of us living in north Louisiana can experience temperatures that go beyond chilly and are downright cold. While we welcome the relief every year from the summer heat, we also want to reduce the amount we pay for electrical power so that we can spend our money on other things.
If we’re not careful, our winter energy use can increase substantially as we try to stave off the bite of frigid temps – and that can lead to high electric bills appearing just about the same time as holiday spending.
At Claiborne Electric, our goal is to make sure you pay no more for electrical power than you have to. Here are some easy and cost-effective tips to help you save money this winter:
• Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
• When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills.
• Install a programmable thermostat, which makes it easier to set back your temperature with regularity.
• Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimney and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
• Maintain your heating system by scheduling regular service to keep your system operating as efficiently as possible.
• Reduce heat loss from your fireplace. Be sure to keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
• When using your fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly - approximately 1 inch - and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
• Install tempered glass doors in your fireplace and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room. Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible. Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room. Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.
• Lower your water heating costs by turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of the energy consumed in your home. You'll not only save energy and money, you'll avoid scalding your hands.
You may wonder why we would provide tips to help you save energy, when our business is to sell electricity. The simplest answer is that we are a not-for-profit cooperative. Our ultimate goal is to meet the needs of our members, not to turn a big profit. We don’t have investors to please. We only have members to please, because our members – the people who purchase electricity from us – own the Co-op! I like to put it this way – we’re about Main Street, not Wall Street!
As always, if you have questions for me, please e-mail me at Mark@our.coop. I can also be reached in the Homer office at 318.927.3504, or in the Farmerville office at 318.368.3011. Again, thank you for your membership. We appreciate you.
Mark A. Brown
General Manager & CEO
Claiborne Electric Cooperative