Staying Cool without Air Conditioning

July 20, 2009 5:55:15 PM PDT
The city's six cooling centers are one option for those trying to stay cool without running up their electricity bill, but some residents without air conditioning are choosing to stay home anyway. We found one woman using water, a fan, and even a spray bottle to beat the heat. "We've got a swamp cooler up there, which is not really helping much, so I sit here in front of my fan with a squirt bottle," said Diana Ratliff.                                    |   http://www.pge.com/care/   |

There is also no running water inside of Ratcliff's home so someone has to climb onto the roof to refill the swamp cooler. At night, it gets worse. "It's been real bad. With the windows and doors, it still doesn't help too much. At night it's real bad," said Ratcliff.

Swamp coolers are a common sight in the valley. The units use less energy and the electricity costs are easier to deal with but they don't cool as well as an air conditioner. At Fresno's Senior Citizens Village, Mazie Schmitz said her swamp cooler works well. Still, she chose to spend part of her day outside, hanging out in the shade with her dog, Amy. "I get a good breeze out here. It's cooler, almost cooler than it is in the house," said Schmitz.

Though Schmitz is fine without A/C, PG and E spokesperson Jeff Smith is hoping the cost alone won't keep people from running theirs. While the temperatures climb, PG and E is continuing its outreach efforts to inform people about the 'CARE' program. It offers an energy discount for those who qualify. "The last thing we want is people unable to run their air conditioning out of fear of the implications down the road with their bill," said Smith.

To find out more about the care program, you can call 1-800-PGE-5000.

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