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With the arrival of the coldest air of the winter season arrives, Danville Utilities has received a peak power alert from American Electric Power. The alert covers a two-hour period from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Power and light customers are urged to conserve any electrical usage that they can during this period.
“We are prepared to meet the energy needs of our customers, but we are trying to keep our system demand down,” Interim Director of Utilities Jason Grey said Monday.
Grey explained that transmission charges for the year are set, in part, by peak usage. With each added megawatt, Danville and other utilities are billed thousands of dollars in added charges by American Electric Power.
The National Weather Service expects temperatures will be in single digits Tuesday morning for much of the American Electric Power zone in which Danville is located. In Danville, temperatures are expected to be between 12 to 15 degrees during the peak alert period.
For this year, Danville is paying transmission charges based on a spike that occurred on Feb. 20, 2015, when Danville customers used 229 megawatts of electricity during a one-hour period that day.
“If we can lower our peak usage, then we can save on costs for the next year,” Grey said. “Customers not only will save money down the road, but they will save money on their next power bill.”
Grey said heating and cooling systems offer the best opportunity for saving money. Electric heating and cooling can account for as much as half of an energy bill, so controlling the home’s thermostat is one of the best ways to manage energy usage and cost.
In addition to lowering their thermostat, customers can help by using less hot water and avoiding the use of the dishwasher or doing laundry during the two peak periods.
WINTER WEATHER ENERGY-SAVING TIPS
During times of extreme temperatures, customers will use more power, which generally results in a higher bill the following month.
Customers can save around 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills by simply turning the thermostat back by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day. As an alternative, installing a programmable thermostat allows customers to automatically set specific temperatures at different times of the day.
Additional steps customers can take to manage their energy demand and reduce their energy bills:
?Set ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to push warm air down into rooms.?Open drapes and blinds to allow the sun to warm rooms during the day. Close them at night.?Change heating-system air filters. Dirty air filters make heating systems work harder, which uses more energy.
Danville Utilities provides natural gas, water, wastewater and telecommunications services in Danville and distributes electricity to approximately 42,000 customer locations in a 500-square-mile service territory covering Danville, the southern third of Pittsylvania County, and small portions of Henry and Halifax counties.