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news release

NYSEG AND RG&E ENCOURAGE CUSTOMERS TO USE ENERGY WISELY TO HELP MANAGE WINTER BILLS

Rochester, NY, January 8, 2010 – NYSEG and RG&E are encouraging customers to pay particular attention to using energy wisely during what are typically the harshest winter months – January, February and March.  

“Cold weather drives energy consumption, so this is a very important time for customers to use energy wisely in order to help manage their energy costs,” said Terri Van Brooker, director - customer service at NYSEG and RG&E.
 NYSEG and RG&E offer the following energy-saving and safety tips:

Heating:
• Set thermostats no higher than 70° and at 58° when you’re away from the house for more than a few hours or in bed for the night. (This may not be advisable if frail, ill or elderly people or infants are in the home.)
• Install automatic set back or programmable thermostats.
• Change or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
• Warm air rises, so use registers to direct warm airflow across the floor.
• Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close fireplace dampers when not in use.
• Open draperies and blinds on sunny days to let the warmth in and close at night to insulate against cold air outside.

Lighting/Electricity:

• Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs that use up to 75% less energy and last up to 10 times as long.
• Use programmable timers to turn on/off lights.
• Unplug chargers for cell phones and other electronic devices.
• Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.

Water:

• Set water heater temperatures at 120° to cut water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.
• Install water-flow restrictors in showerheads and faucets.
• Limit the length of showers.
• Run washing machines and clothes dryers with a full load.

Safety Reminders:
• Emergency generators can be dangerous. If you use one, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Never run an emergency generator indoors; operate generators only outdoors in well-ventilated areas.
• Be very careful with candles and never leave them unattended.
• Never use a natural gas or propane range to heat your home.
• Never use a grill, hibachi, lantern or portable camping stove indoors.
• Make sure your electric stove tops and/or ovens are off when not in use.
• Stay away from any downed wires.
• Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
• If you use candles for decorative purposes, always keep them within your sight and away from children, pets and anything that could catch fire.

For more low-cost and no-cost energy-saving tips, visit nyseg.com or rge.com and click on “Usage and Safety.”

Customers are also encouraged to sign up for the companies’ Budget Billing service that enables them to spread utility costs evenly over 12 months. For more information or to sign up, NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1111; RG&E customers should call 1.800.743.2110.

Customers who are having difficulty paying their bills are urged to contact their utility right away (NYSEG: 1.888.315.1755; RG&E: 1.877.266.3492).

“The sooner they contact us, the sooner we can work on a solution together,” Van Brooker said. “Shutting off service is always the last thing we want to do,” Van Brooker said. “As is our usual practice, we will be particularly sensitive to the role utility service plays in ensuring our customers’ safety and security during the frigid weather.”