As temperatures continue to increase this summer so does our appreciation for air conditioning. To keep your AC running efficiently this summer without heating up your electric bill, follow these simple tips:
Call a professional:
Have your AC unit serviced annually by a reputable HVAC professional. Tune-ups usually cost anywhere from $70 to $100.
Clean your filters:
Check your air filters once a month and clean or replace as necessary. Dust and allergens are especially bad during summer so keep an eye on your filters to avoid clogs. Clogs will make your AC work harder which means more electricity used.
Protect your thermostat:
Keep heat-producing appliances (lamps, television sets, etc.) away from your thermostat. Thermostats run longer than necessary when they sense heat.
Touch that dial:
Each degree below 78 increases your energy consumption by almost 8 percent! Be wise when setting your thermostat. To make your life easier while keeping costs low, consider investing in a programmable thermostat.
Keep the cool air in:
Ensure that you don’t have any leaks in caulking and weather-stripping. If needed, add insulation around AC ducts.
Feel your fan:
Switch your ceiling fans counterclockwise in the summer. This pushes the cool air down which can cool your skin without heating up your electric usage. Although the cost to run ceiling fans is substantially lower than AC, always remember to turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room.
Consider window tint:
Window tint helps to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter which can make a difference on your electric bill.
For more energy saving tips, visit www.lcec.net.
LCEC employees proudly volunteer thousands of hours a year in our community. From coaching little league to packing meals at the soup kitchen to mentoring local at-risk students, our employees give of their time and their hearts to help others. In an effort to support their passion for philanthropy, LCEC designed the Pay It Forward Program to encourage volunteerism and support employees efforts to actively give to their favorite qualifying non-profit organization. In essence, employees who volunteer and track volunteer hours can earn Pay It Forward donation dollars which are, in turn, awarded to the employee’s 501©3 charity of choice. To receive Pay It Forward donation dollars, employees must volunteer at least 50 hours. Once an employee hits 50 hours, they can designate a benefitting organization to receive a $50 donation on behalf of the employee. Employees can earn up to $100 in Pay It Forward donation dollars in a year for volunteering 100+ hours. Benefiting organizations must be not-for-profit and supporting documentation of their status must be submitted with the donation request. Since its launch in March 2016, $200 has already been awarded to local charities through the Pay It Forward Program, and that amount will surely grow in the months to come.
The Pay It Forward Program is just one way that LCEC gives back to the community. Another example of LCEC’s commitment to this community is our continual fundraising efforts which bring in over $200,000 annually for the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties. LCEC is proud, honored and dedicated to taking an active role in making our communities and the environment a better place to work and live.
Electric Rates Far Below State and National Averages
LCEC electric rates will fall for the fifth time in the last three years, thanks to a rate reduction approved this morning by the LCEC Board of Trustees.
The residential rate for 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) will fall to $102.50, a drop of almost nine percent from 2013 rate levels. This places LCEC rates far below the average charged by the state’s municipal and investor-owned utilities ($112.42 and $123.98, respectively). Based on currently available information, only 4 of the 55 electric utilities in Florida have lower residential rates for electricity at that usage level.
“I’m tremendously proud of the work our employees do every day to deliver on our promise of providing the lowest reasonably achievable price for reliable electric service,” said Dennie Hamilton, executive vice president and CEO of LCEC. “As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, LCEC is not in the business to earn a profit for shareholders, but rather to serve our members, who with this reduction will pay less now for electricity than they have since 2006.”
According to Hamilton, the benefits of cooperative membership go beyond low electric rates. Cooperative members provide funds to operate their electric utility and are allocated equity annually, a portion of which is retired and returned to members when financially feasible. LCEC returned more than $10 million to active and inactive cooperative members in 2016.
“Beyond our formal electric rates, the benefits of cooperative membership can be quantified as an effective rate discount to our customers of just over seven percent,” said Hamilton. “We are laser-focused on achieving our long-range business objective of remaining one of the lowest-cost residential electric providers in Florida.”
About LCEC: The LCEC headquarters in North Fort Myers, Florida, is in the same location where the cooperative originated in 1940. Approximately 375 skilled employees are positioned throughout the five-county service territory, working varied schedules to ensure customers’ energy needs are met around the clock.
LCEC is proud to celebrate its fourth year as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite.
As a platinum-level Fit-Friendly Worksite, LCEC:
–Offers employees physical activity options in the workplace.
–Offers healthy eating options at the worksite.
–Promotes a wellness culture in the workplace.
–Demonstrates measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness.
The American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksites Recognition Program is designed to be a catalyst for positive change in American business. The program recognizes employers who champion the health of their employees by creating physical activity programs within the workplace. The program is also meant to encourage other worksites to participate and demonstrate similar physical activity practices for their employees.
LCEC is proud to unveil an informational website to provide information, answer questions, and solicit feedback from customers. The goal of www.LCEC4CapeCoral.com is to provide customers with an easy-to-access source of information for all things LCEC and Cape Coral-related. This site will be updated regularly as LCEC continues to work with the City of Cape Coral on a renewed franchise agreement. LCEC is hopeful that the City’s decision to hire a negotiation consultant signals a new direction in negotiations moving forward. Visit www.LCEC4CapeCoral.com today to see all that this site has to offer.
LCEC’s preparation begins long before a hurricane threatens to make landfall in Southwest Florida. In fact, we prepare year-round to ensure that the resources needed for restoration are in place. To do this, LCEC cultivates relationships with power line and tree-trimming contractors, fuel companies, material vendors, food service vendors, other cooperatives and local agencies for back-up resources. In addition, our 375+ employees play a vital role in the restoration plan. These employees put their typical job duties on hold to pitch in during restoration, working around-the-clock to ensure that power for LCEC customers is restored as quickly as possible.
LCEC has a detailed restoration plan that outlines priorities of electric restoration during large power outages. Our plan first calls for restoration of essential services such as hospitals, traffic signals, shelters, law enforcement. Next, power is restored to the largest number of customers. The last to be restored are individual services or services that need to be reconnected after repair to their home electrical system.
LCEC does not disconnect power before a storm. The utility lets Mother Nature run her course, and begins to restore power to impacted areas once winds are at a safe level.
How customers should prepare for outages
• Ensure that you have a back-up telephone if you use a cordless or other telephone that is dependent on electricity.
• Have a battery-powered radio on hand and a supply of fresh batteries to stay aware of news and other information.
• Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.
What to do when the lights go out
• Help keep LCEC’s telephone lines clear for emergency calls. Only call LCEC at 656-2300 to report downed power lines.
• Visually check your weather-head (on the roof where your service drop connects to the pole) and your meter box to make sure it is not damaged.
• Any damage to your home’s electric system must be repaired by a licensed electrician and inspected by a designated agency before power to your home can be restored.
• Turn off your appliances. This will protect them when service is restored, prevent electrical fires and lessen the chances of circuit overload when service is restored. You may leave one light on to serve as a visual signal that power has been restored.
Storm Safety Tips
• Stay clear of downed power lines. They may still be energized and dangerous. Puddles of water contacting downed lines are just as dangerous.
• Don’t trim trees or remove debris located near downed power lines. If you must remove debris from your home, don’t pile it under or near electrical lines or equipment.
• Residents on life support need to have an alternate plan in place to ensure the continuity of any life-support needs. This may include making special arrangements to spend time with a friend or relative during an outage or using a back-up generator.
• If operating a portable generator, keep it outside and in an open area. Carbon monoxide emissions can be harmful. Follow all instructions regarding safe operation. Do not connect the generator directly to your main electrical panel. If installed incorrectly, power could flow into outside lines and injure you, your neighbors or utility crews working in the area.
• Avoid detaining LCEC employees or contractors while they are working to restore power. This can be distracting, can cause an accident and impedes the process.
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