MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The high temperatures this week mean people across the metro are cranking the A/C. It’s one of the highest energy days of the season for Xcel Energy.

On one of the steamiest days of the year, in downtown Minneapolis at Nicollet and 4th Street, Herbert Baker was feeling the heat and serving it up as chef at Ally Dawg. But he’s not complaining.

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“This is Minnesota, you better be glad you got a couple of hot days, in 30 days, it’s a done deal,” he said. “It wouldn’t be Minnesota without some hot and steamy days, so we prepare for it.”

Michael Lamb helps oversee the Xcel Power grid, a complicated system that routes power through the area.

“Absolutely, more energy on days like today are flowing through the grid than normal,” he said. “But that’s OK, because we have built the grid to handle that amount of energy.”

There are some simple ways to make sure your home pulls less from the power grid and less money is pulled from your pocket, starting with air filters; change those regularly. Change your bulbs out to LEDs, and to keep the cool air inside make sure to draw the shades, or close the curtains.

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Also, try not to run appliances during the heat of the day. And keep those ceiling fans in motion.

Here’s the full list of tips from Xcel:

Home cooling can account for about half of a summertime electric bill, and the best way customers can keep their bills low is to practice some basic conservation and efficiency habits that can keep you cool without stressing your family’s budget. Among the simplest ways customers can get the most out of their cooling are:

  • Installing a programmable thermostat that raises the setting when the house is empty, and lowers it to a comfortable level when everyone comes home,
  • Using ceiling fans to help circulate cool air through the home,
  • Opening interior doors to improve the circulation of cool air inside,
  • Using a whole-house or attic fan to draw in cool nighttime air and push out hot air during the day,
  • Changing air conditioning filters,
  • Closing drapes and blinds during the heat of the day.

Customers can also help reduce their overall bills by:

  • Turning off unnecessary lighting and replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs, which use 75 to 80 percent less energy than traditional bulbs and last 15 percent longer,
  • Running washing machines, dishwashers and clothes dryers with full loads after the heat of the day, which helps keep the house cooler and reduces strain on the local grid.
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There are several programs Xcel offers that allows them to temporarily lower your AC when the grid gets busy. Those who sign up get a credit on their bills.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield