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PHOENIX -- With air conditioning units kicking into high gear, Salt River Project is offering customers simple tips to save money this summer.

Kathleen Mascareñas said they realize it can be hard to know exactly what to do to save money. She is the spokeswoman for SRP.

"I would encourage people to take control of the energy consumption in their home," she said. "The website is going to save you some money and a lot of hassle in the long run."

Here are the five ways SRP says will help people lower their energy bills:

• Close drapes and draw blinds to keep out heat. Windows can account for nearly 50 percent of the heat that enters a home.

• Install shade screens to keep the home cool and comfortable and the AC from working as hard.

• Bump up the thermostat a bit. For every degree the thermostat is above 80 degrees, a customer can save up to 3 percent on cooling costs.

• Unplug small appliances in kitchen and unused electronics around the house. According to the Department of Energy, vampire electronics use up to 5 percent of the energy in an average home.

• Plant free shade trees. Once fully grown a shade tree can reduce cooling costs by up to $50 a year. The utility company has also set up a website (savewithsrp.com) where people can receive rebates for things like window shades and energy-efficient pool pumps. Customers can also get a free shade tree.

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