With record heat and heat indexes impacting Central Florida this week, OUC reports new peak electric demand for its Orlando and St. Cloud service territories.

On Wednesday, Aug. 9, demand by OUC’s Orlando electric customers reached 1,349 megawatts (MW), breaking records set on Monday and Tuesday. St. Cloud customers also set a record for electric demand on Wednesday, reaching 271 MW, eclipsing records set on Monday and Tuesday. Previously, Orlando recorded a peak demand of 1,285 MW on June 25, 2019, while St. Cloud recorded a peak demand of 250 MW on July 3, 2023.

With high temperatures, air conditioning units are working harder to keep homes, businesses and schools cool, resulting in increased demand on OUC’s electric generation systems. While OUC has adequate generation to support this demand, higher electric consumption can lead to higher bills.

To help keep electric bills in check, OUC is recommending these easy to implement tips to OUC customers:

  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Each degree you lower the thermostat below 78 can cost you 6 to 8 percent or more on cooling costs.
  • Replace dirty or clogged A/C filters.
  • Keep your A/C (central, window and split units) set to auto, so the fan isn’t constantly turning.
  • Instead of the A/C, use ceiling fans to feel cooler in the room you’re occupying. Make sure fans are turning counter clockwise, but don’t forget to turn them off when the room is empty.
  • Use shades, drapes and blinds to keep the sun and heat out, especially on windows that face east or west.
  • Close windows and outside doors to prevent the air-conditioned air from escaping.
  • Only wash full loads in dishwashers and clothing washers. Using hot water can add about 90 percent to the cost of each load, so consider using cold water.
  • Clear your dryer vent regularly to prevent fires and improve efficiency.
  • Check your water heater temperature to ensure it’s set to no more than 125 degrees, otherwise you’re wasting energy.

Longer-term energy-saving solutions include:

  • Is your A/C unit the right size for your home? If it’s time to replace it, you could qualify for an OUC rebate.
  • Consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. These devices can help save up to 10 percent on cooling costs.
  • Upgrading to ENERGY STAR® energy-efficient windows can reduce energy bills. Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of residential heating and cooling energy use.
  • For customers who aren’t sure if their homes or businesses are energy efficient, OUC offers FREE energy efficiency audits.

To assist customers with paying their bills, OUC offers a variety of programs, including the Power Pass prepaid program and Budget Billing and payment plans. Additionally, OUC’s Project CARE payment-assistance program provides emergency relief to those experiencing financial hardships.

For more tools to help save energy and money, visit ouc.com/waystosave.