CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As the streak of mid-90s temperatures continues in North Carolina and South Carolina, Duke Energy is providing free tools and tips to help customers save energy – and money – as the region’s heat wave lingers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duke Energy’s system is performing well and, as always, the company is monitoring its power plants, power lines and other equipment to help ensure customers receive reliable service during the extended hot-weather period.

Low- to no-cost summer energy efficiency tips

High temperatures can lead to higher energy bills as Duke Energy customers try to stay cool. Below are some tips to help manage your energy use.

  • Change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes an HVAC system work harder, which uses more energy.
  • Set your thermostat at the highest comfortable setting. The smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the lower your energy bill will be.
  • Close blinds, drapes and curtains during the hottest part of the day to keep the sun's rays from heating your house.
  • Use a ceiling fan in occupied rooms to supplement your air conditioning, allowing you to turn up the thermostat. Make sure the fans are set to operate in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Grill outdoors. Cooking in the oven and on the stovetop creates a lot of indoor heat. Help save energy by firing up the grill outdoors, or prepare meals that don't require cooking.
  • Run your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer at night when it’s cooler. Run full loads. Consider air drying dishes and clothes to save even more.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights. Be sure to turn off lights when you leave a room. Lights emit heat and cause your air conditioning system to work harder.

Track your energy usage

Customers with smart meters can check online to view their daily usage. Smart meters collect usage information by the hour, so checking spikes throughout the month – by day and even hour – can show what appliances and behaviors are increasing their bills.

Videos are available for customers with smart meters to learn how to track energy usage here.

Duke Energy customers with smart meters also receive usage alerts through email and/or text halfway through their billing cycle, well before their bill arrives, with their current usage amount and a projection of what their final monthly bill could be.

Customers can also set budget alerts so they know when their bill reaches a specific dollar amount of their choosing, allowing them to adjust their usage and help save money on their bill.

Customers without smart meters can sign up to receive high bill alerts for when adverse weather is projected to increase their electric bills by at least 30 percent and $30 compared to historical usage.

Additionally, here are tips on how to understand your energy bill and avoid surprises during hot weather: