Jan. 12, 2023 – Black Hills Energy is closely monitoring the National Weather Service forecast this week for a winter storm and extreme cold temperatures predicted to impact several states across the country. Our operations teams are preparing for possible heavy snow accumulation, ice, and sub-zero temperatures, which are expected to last through early next week.
Energy conservation reminders
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. Dept. of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling costs simply by turning your thermostat down by a few degrees for eight hours a day.
- Did you know as much as 7-12% of a building's heating and cooling loss occurs around windows and doors? Jettison those leaks and weather-strip to seal around movable joints like doors or windows.
- Lower your water heater setting. Lowering your temperature setting a few degrees can save energy. Lowering your temperature to under 120 degrees can save you up to 10% on your water heater costs.
- Limit laundry and chores until later in the week when temperatures normalize. If you must do laundry or wash dishes, consider energy efficiency strategies to lessen the impact. For example, run complete loads of laundry, rather than partial loads, to avoid using more hot water than necessary. Changing dishwasher settings to air dry is another way to save energy.
- Make sure your fireplace damper closes tightly when you're not using it. Closing the damper could save 8% of your home's heat.
- You could save as much as 30% of your energy costs by better insulating your attic or top floor.
Black Hills Energy is also urging our customers to keep their homes safe with the following guidelines.
Natural gas safety
Snow and ice buildup on your natural gas meter can create a safety hazard and even cut off the flow of natural gas to your heating equipment and other appliances. Please follow these guidelines for staying safe:
- Gently clear snow away by hand or with a broom. Do not use a shovel, ice pick or other sharp tools, damage could result and make the situation worse.
- Keep snow blowers and 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 below.
- Point out the meter and any other above-ground utility structures to anyone you hire for snow removal.
- Make sure the carbon monoxide detector in your home has fresh batteries and is functioning properly.
In an event that you experience an unexpected outage in your home or business, please follow these guidelines for staying safe:
- If your power goes out, see if your neighbors have power. If they do, check your home for blown fuses or a tripped circuit breaker.
- If your neighbors don't have power or if you can't locate the problem, report the outage at blackhillsenergy.com/outages.
- If you see damaged outdoor electric power equipment, please contact us at 800-890-5554.
- Do not try to remove any debris if it is on a powerline or outdoor electrical equipment.
- If you are outdoors, never touch or attempt to pick up a fallen powerline. Assume any downed power line is energized.
- During an outage, unplug sensitive computer and electronic equipment or protect them with a high-quality surge protector.
Stay up to date by visiting blackhillsenergy.com/weather. Customers can also find winter energy conservation and billing resources at blackhillsenergy.com/ready. To receive outage notifications on your mobile device, please log into your Black Hills Energy account at blackhillsenergy.com.
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