BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The summer feels like temperatures are in the triple digits, it’s no secret people are running to their thermostats — but that comes with a cost.

“Taking those types of steps to stay cool can increase your electricity usage and therefore increase your utility bill, “said Entergy spokesperson David Freese. “Utility bills can fluctuate and this is especially true during the extreme weather months.”

Freese said while there are factors that are out of customers’ control, like the increased price of natural gas and storm recovery costs, there are still ways to manage your bill this summer. Freese said cutting back on electricity usage can be as simple as setting the thermostat to 78 degrees.

“We’re encouraging customers to take energy efficiency steps around their home,” said Freese. “Any degree below that will add three percent to your bill. So if you drop it to 75 degrees, you’ve potentially already approximately nine percent to your bill. Heating and cooling a home can actually account for more than 50% of the costs of your utility bill.”

Freese also recommends closing blinds to avoid heating up rooms, taking showers over baths, sealing doors and windows to keep the cool air in and regularly changing air filters.

“If the filter is dirty and not letting air through again, this can be taxing your air conditioning unit,” said Freese.

For customers already dealing with a high bill there is assistance available:

  • Power to Care – Through Entergy’s The Power to Care program, local nonprofit agencies can provide emergency bill payment assistance to seniors and disabled individuals in crisis.
  • LIHEAP – LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is a program that provides money to help people with energy bills and other energy-related expenses. LIHEAP is funded through the federal government and works with the community action agencies to help customers pay for and keep electric service in their homes. For information on how to apply for assistance, visit the Louisiana Housing Corporation’s energy assistance page.

Customers can also track their energy usage using the company’s mobile phone app.

Aside from the do-it-yourself tips, Entergy offers the company’s energy efficiency programs. They offer free in-home energy assessments and rebates to help reduce the up-front cost of installing energy-efficient equipment, such as high-efficiency HVAC tune-ups, insulation, air sealing, and duct sealing.