The power of “powering down”


KIMT News 3 – You may have heard the alert on your radio or gotten it through email during the height of the heat wave.  Local power companies were asking folks to power down for the day due to high energy use.  It’s called a peak alert.

When you hear the words “peak alert”, are you one to unplug? There are two schools of thought on this.

“So my electricity doesn’t go up, I shut things down that I’m not using,” said Carol Wildman of Albert Lea.

“I really don’t change anything. I don’t feel bad about it. I just want to be comfortable after a long day’s work,” said Cody Schaefer.

For Schaefer, one of the main reasons he’s not worried is because someone else is paying the bill.

“Right now, between me and my wife, the way we have it is, she pays that part.”

Mike Murtaugh, Director of Energy Services at Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services, says a peak alert should be taken seriously, especially when it comes to a future bill.

“Where they’re going to see it is down the road, and that’s the big thing.  With a peak alert, we’re avoiding future costs by not having to build another power plant,” said Murtaugh.

Here’s why a peak alert is sent out.  Power companies, like Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services work together with companies all across the central part of the U.S, and when weather gets hot in any of those parts in the country, like Wednesday, electricity gets used up quickly.

“We ask people to do things, like wait until after 7 or 8 pm to do the load of dishes or to run laundry. Use the grill instead of using the electric stove,” said Murtaugh.

Murtaugh says the number of peak alerts this summer is similar to what it was last year.  They average nine per year.

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