After Hours Emergency (760) 326-5700
Electric Supervisor: Justin Scott
The City of Needles purchased the Electric Company in 1991 from CP National. NPUA which is Needles Public Utility Authority is the agency that manages the Utilities for the City. This is managed with a recommendation to the City Council by the Utility Board. City Council Members are also the NPUA managing body.
Make sure your house is well insulated. The easiest and most cost-effective way to insulate your home is to add insulation in the attic. To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure the thickness of insulation. If there is less than R-22 (7 inches of fiberglass or rock wool or 6 inches of cellulose), you could probably benefit by adding more. Most homes should have between R-22 and R-49 insulation in the attic. If your attic has ample insulation and your home still feels too warm, chances are you need to add insulation to the exterior walls. This is a more expensive measure that usually requires a contractor, but it may be well worth the cost if you have high summer electric bills.
Weather-strip, caulk, and seal all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. You can save 10% or more on your energy bill by reducing the air leaks in your home. This is one of the quickest dollar-savings tasks you can do immediately.
- Use the outside barbecue grill whenever possible. This will keep the heat out of the kitchen. Barbecuing can also be a fun time for the whole family.
- Use a microwave to help keep the kitchen cool. This will also reduce cooking time. Consider also using other low-heat kitchen tools such as crock-pots, electric skillets, or toaster ovens.
- Don’t preheat the oven unless the recipe calls for it specifically.
- Turn the oven off about five minutes before items are done to let the remaining heat complete the job.
- Don’t open the door to the oven frequently. Each time you open the door, you lose 25 to 50 degrees of heat.
- Prepare your foods when the kitchen is the coolest, usually during the early morning. Whenever possible, cook everything at the same time.
- To minimize heat loss, use flat bottom pans that fit the size of the burner.
- Use lids on pots and pans on the stove to prevent heat loss.
- Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded.
- Let your dishes air dry. If you don’t have an automatic air-dry setting, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open a little so the dishes dry faster.
- Run you dishwasher at night during off peak hours. This avoids adding heat and humidity to your house during the day when the air conditioner is working hardest.
Heat Pumps & Air Filters
Electric heat pumps use less energy than older electric heat units. Consider replacing your heating and cooling systems if it is more than 10 years old. In the Needles area, cooling costs can account for as much as 45 percent of your annual electric bill. So replacing an old system with a new energy-efficient heat pump can have a significant impact on your monthly electric bill. If you replace your old unit with a new high-efficiency heat pump, you can save as much as 30 to 40 percent on you cooling costs.
Needles Public Utility Authority (“NPUA”) electric customers may be eligible for a rebate on qualified replacements of air conditioning systems. For more information call (760) 326-5700. The efficiency of heat pumps and air conditioners is expressed by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER number, the more cooling you will get for your dollar. Energy Star qualified heat pumps have a SEER of 14 or greater.
Make sure your heat pump is the correct size for your home. Often people purchase a unit, which is too large for the space, because they think it will cool better. An oversized unit is actually less effective than a correctly sized unit. It also wastes energy. Running a smaller unit for a longer time will use less energy to completely cool a room than running an oversized unit for a shorter time.
Remember to replace your air filter each month. A good way to remember is to replace it each month when you receive your electric bill.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Not only does it save on water heating costs; it keeps your home cooler.
- Wash and dry only full loads. A partial load uses almost as much energy and water. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
- Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
- Increase your lighting efficiency by replacing your lights in high-use areas with compact fluorescent lights. This is a very quick and easy way to decrease your energy bills.
- Fluorescent lights last 6 to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
- Fluorescent not only use less electricity, but they also help your home stay cooler in the summer because they generate less heat than conventional lighting.
- Fluorescent light bulbs are the most efficient light bulbs available today.
- Fluorescent are about 75 percent cooler. · Turn off lights when they are not needed.
A programmable thermostat is a temperature-sensitive device that lets you choose the temperature to be maintained in one or several rooms of your home during different times of the day. Energy Star labeled programmable thermostats are designed to help save money on your utility bill and reduce energy costs. Energy Star estimates that Energy Star labeled programmable thermostats, when properly used, can save consumers 20 to 30 percent on heating and cooling costs.
What appliance uses the most energy in your home? If you answered refrigerator, you are correct. So how can you conserve energy, save money and use your refrigerator in the most efficient way?
- Refrigerators use more energy than any other appliance in your home. Consider replacing your refrigerator if it is more than 12 years old, and please do not move your old one to the garage or outside to be used as a second refrigerator.
- A typical refrigerator made around 1990 uses over 900 kilowatt hours per year – that’s the same amount of energy you would use by leaving a 1,250 watt hair dryer on for a month! And the older your refrigerator is, the more power it uses. When you decide to replace your old refrigerator, consider an Energy Star qualified refrigerator, which uses less than half the energy (for the same size refrigerator) of a 10-year-old conventional model. Energy Star labeled refrigerators incorporate a number of advanced features to save energy. Manufacturers are now using better insulation, more efficient compressors, improved heat transfer surfaces, and more precise temperature and defrost mechanisms. Energy Star labeled refrigerators use improved insulation so the compressor runs less often. This keeps your kitchen cooler, reducing the need to air condition.
- Test the seal to your refrigerator. Energy Star recommends testing the seal on your refrigerator and freezer door gasket periodically by closing the door on a dollar bill. If the bill pulls out easily, you may need a new gasket. · Did you know that a refrigerator or freezer in the garage or outside could be a real energy hog? High temperatures make your refrigerator or freezer use much more energy, which adds to your electricity bills. Consider disconnecting them at least for the summer, or moving them to an air-conditioned area.
- Clean the coils under or behind your refrigerator several times a year to help it run more efficiently. Be sure to unplug the refrigerator first, and be careful not to bend or break anything in the process.
- Keep the freezer compartment defrosted. Ice buildup acts as an insulator, making your refrigerator run longer and work harder.
- Keep your refrigerator or freezer full, without overcrowding. Empty or nearly refrigerators do not operate efficiently. Use water containers or bags of ice cubes to fill empty space.
- Don’t open the refrigerator longer or more often than necessary. Decide what you want before you open the door. Check out www.energystar.gov to learn all about energy efficient appliances, including refrigerators.
Water Heater Tips
- Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees. Set it at 140 degrees if you have a dishwasher.
- Insulate the hot water pipe leaving your water heater. This cost is minimal and you can save $20 a year in energy costs.
- Repair leaking faucets. Make sure water faucets are turned off completely.
- Consider adding an insulating blanket if you have an older water heater. Be sure to check the label on your water heater first to make sure this is in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Install solar film, sunscreens, or awnings on sun-struck windows.
- Plant trees and shrubs in front of sun-struck windows or walls to keep homes cooler and reduce energy costs during the summer months. Check with your nursery for a list of desert trees because they use less water and need less care than many other trees.
A swimming pool pump can use more electricity in a year than an average washer, dryer, dishwasher, range and oven combined. Please follow these tips to conserve energy.
- Install a timer on your pool pump and run it only at night during non-peak hours.
- Keep your chemicals properly balanced. This is more important to maintain clean water than operating the pump longer.
- Operate the filter at night. Because chlorine is destroyed by sunlight, the chemicals will be strongest if you apply them at night.
www.energysavers.gov for energy saving tips from the U.S. Department of Energy
www.energystar.gov for information on Energy Star products and appliances