City of Salem Utilities developed the following list of actions customers can take to conserve on utilities any time of the year and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Save on your heating and cooling bills by setting your thermostat a few degrees lower when heating or higher when cooling.

2. Take shorter showers and lower the thermostat on your water heater. Hot water is typically a significant portion of residential utility usage.

3. Unplug unused electronics. Standby power can account for 10% of an average household’s annual electricity use. Unplug your DVR, stereo—and even your coffee maker—to conserve energy.

4. Run full loads of laundry. Most of the energy used by washing machines is for heating water. Using cold water and only washing full loads can amount to significant savings.

5. Use a microwave, crock pot or roaster oven. A microwave takes 15 minutes to do the same job as 1 hour in an oven. Use another cooking method and save time and energy.

6. Turn off the lights and replace incandescent bulbs. It only takes a few seconds to conserve energy: just remember to always turn off your lights when you leave a room. Switching to energy-efficient LED light bulbs can also lower your utility usage.

7. If possible, weatherize your home. Drafts can consume 5% to 30% of home energy usage. Buy or make a do-it-yourself draft stopper or add weather-stripping and caulk leaks to improve your home’s comfort and use less energy.

The next utility bills are expected to be processed by April 10, 2020 and will include trash charges for two months as utility bills were not processed in March. Though penalties are not being assessed during the COVID-19 Declared Emergency, the bills will have a listed penalty date of May 1, 2020. Bills paid by April 20, 2020 will be eligible for the 1% discount on the electric portion of the bill.

Payments of accounts set up for autopayment will be processed April 20, 2020.

Anyone with questions about their bill or needing assistance can contact the city utility office at 729-4117.