Propelled by air conditioners working to cool homes and businesses amid scorching summer temperatures, OUC peak electric demand in St. Cloud reached a record 234 megawatts (MW) on July 13, 2022, beating the city’s previous high mark of 230MW set three weeks earlier.

While OUC – The Reliable One has adequate generation to support customer demand, higher electric consumption can lead to higher utility bills. To help keep electric bills from climbing as temperatures rise, OUC recommends the following:

  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Each degree you lower the thermostat below 78 degrees can cost you 6% to 8% more on your cooling costs.
  • Keep your A/C (central, window and split units) set to auto so the fan isn’t constantly running.
  • Use ceiling fans to help cool rooms. Make sure they’re turning counterclockwise, but turn them off when no one is in the room.
  • Replace you’re A/C air filter monthly.
  • Consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can help save up to 10% on cooling costs.
  • Use shades, drapes and blinds to repel sunlight and heat, especially on windows facing east or west.
  • Keep windows and outside doors closed while the A/C is on.
  • Caulk and place weather strips around leaky windows and doors.
  • Wash only full loads in dishwashers and clothes washers, using cold water for the latter. Washing clothes in hot water can add about 90% to the cost of each load.
  • Clear your dryer vent regularly to prevent fires and improve efficiency.
  • Check your water heater temperature to ensure it is set to no more than 125 degrees, otherwise you’re wasting energy.

For more tips to help save energy and money, visit