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As mercury rises, SRP and APS offer tips on energy conservation

As temperatures climb in the Valley, so do electric bills.

But two of the state’s major utilities, Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project, say you can do a lot to keep them down.

Your air conditioner accounts for most of your summer energy costs, and you can take steps to see that it runs more efficiently, such as changing filters and regular service.

It can also help to turn on a fan, use the dishwasher sparingly and switch to LED bulbs.

And it never hurts to keep the temperature as warm as you can stand it. Casaundra Donahoe of SRP says that smart thermostats can help cut costs and take pressure off the grid.

"If you have a smart thermostat, can help us manage those peak demands, and help make sure that we’re not over using energy where we don’t need to be and helps keep the grid as sustainable and reliable as possible during the summer months," Donahoe said.

Both utilities offer home assessment programs that can help make your home more energy efficient.

Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.