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Cutting the cost of electricity as temps heat up

With more people home due to the coronavirus, electric bills are higher than normal.

SAN ANTONIO — We may only be one month into spring, but we've already seen temperatures making it seem more like the middle of summer. That means electric bills are going up in a hurry. 

On Friday, San Antonio saw a high of 98 degrees. CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams previously told us when more people are home are home and with the risign heat, higher bills just make sense. 

"You start your washing machine, you start your dishwasher, your refrigerator is always running and you are running your stove," she said. 

San Antonians are also cranking up the AC, but you may not want to consider lowering that temperature so much. 

"Customers have a whole lot of control about whether or not bills go up as high as they do," Gold-Williams said. 

The Department of Energy recommends adjusting your thermostat seven to 10 degrees from normal to achieve an annual savings of up to 10%. So when you're home, shoot for 78 degrees, and push it up to 85 degrees when nobody is home. 

You can also get a programmable thermostat to have more control over the temperature of your home. Also, make sure your AC unit is running properly and change the air filter regularly. Lower the temperature on your water heater. And reduce cool air waste by checking windows and doors for leaks.

But what about in the long term? CPS Energy and Go Smart Solar say you can harness the power of the sun. 

"That allows people to buy solar systems, but instead of putting it on your roof we actually installed the system offsite in a sunny location," said Jason Pittman, president and co-founder of Go Smart Solar.  

"We are always looking for ways to lower the cost of solar so that solar can be more affordable for a greater percentage of the population and we can see solar flourish faster," added Robert Miggins, CEO and c-founder of Go Smart Solar. 

You don't even need a home or a roof. Instead, residents can purchase any number of solar panels on carports across the city and see the dollars drop from your CPS bill. 

"It's a great way for people to purchase solar and to see those savings for all 25 years," Miggins said. "Regardless of whether they live in the same place. So it's portable." 

What about the cost? 

"One solar panel cost approximately $870," Pittman said. "However, it does qualify for a 26% investment tax credit, so you would get 26% of that investment back from the IRS next year on your taxes." 

"The customer can choose at what percentage of your bill would you like to illuminate all the way up to 100% of your bill or down to whatever fits your budget even if you can afford only one panel," Miggins added. 

Check out more energy-saving tips from CPS Energy here. 

Find out more about Go Smart Solar here.

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