July 13, 2018 1:37 pm

‘We don’t want there to be any surprises’: Toronto Hydro offers tips to lower bills amid hot summer

Toronto Hydro says residents can take steps to lower their energy consumption this summer.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail via The Canadian Press
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Toronto’s sticky summer has the potential to leave some with sticker shock.

As the city heads into yet another hot, sunny weekend, officials with Toronto Hydro say customers trying to keep their homes cool can take steps to prevent large increases in their energy bills this summer.

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“We want people to be aware that this summer is a lot different than last summer, which was pretty cool so hydro bills were a bit lower than maybe a typical summer,” said Tori Gass, a spokesperson for Toronto Hydro.

READ MORE: Summer weather forecast: A warm Canadian summer, with a few exceptions

“We don’t want there to be any surprises,” she added.

Global News Chief Meteorologist Anthony Farnell said that so far, July is running about three degrees warmer than last year. There have been plenty of days above the 30 C mark this summer.

Toronto Hydro said that less than a month into the season, the number of days with a high demand for electricity has already exceed that of 2017.

READ MORE: Toronto's five-day forecast

“When demand for power exceeds 4,000 MW, it’s a good indicator that air conditioners are working overtime,” the utility explained in a news release.

“So far this year, we’ve already experienced seven days above this mark — last year we only saw five days over 4,000 MW for the entire summer.”

Cranking the AC could be responsible for up to 50 per cent of a summer power bill, according to Toronto Hydro.

Gass said that keeping blinds and curtains closed is an easy step people can take to help keep the temperature inside the home from rising.

Ceiling fans are also cheaper to run, she said.

“If you run your ceiling fan instead of AC, you can actually save about $20 a month on a summer bill,” she said.

READ MORE: Canada Day heat wave reduces Parliament Hill turnout

You can also save energy by turning the AC off or down during the daytime when people or pets aren’t at home, and keeping it at about 22 C during the evening, when rates are lower.

Gass said programmable thermostats can help ensure the home is cool when you come home from work.

Those looking to save can also consider taking advantage of the sunshine and drying clothes outside or on a drying rack, the utility said.

As for the heat, Farnell said there is some relief in sight for the Greater Toronto Area.

“Temperatures are expected to return to more seasonal levels later next week and the second half of July looks much cooler than the first half,” he said. “Temperatures in August are also expected to be near normal across the GTA.”

— With files from Danny Longo, 640 Toronto

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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