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Jed Boal ReportingIt won't be long before Utahns turn on their air conditioners and leave them on, and that strains our electricity supply. For the fourth year in a row, the state is asking everyone to do what they can to save power.
There's a warm-up in progress, summer heat arrives this week. As temperatures rise we try to stay cool, air conditioners go on and the power drain begins.
We saw it a couple of years ago in California--too many people competing for limited power resulted in a summer of brown-outs.
Here in Utah, the population is growing and in general each of us uses more power. More of us are dumping swamp coolers and switching to central air, that's the biggest factor driving up demand between 1:00 in the afternoon and 8:00 p.m.
For the fourth year, the state and power companies launched the PowerForward program to urge us all to conserve.
Karen Gilmore, Utah Power: “All it takes is a little efficiency from all of us to make a big difference in this peak.”
The idea is to proactively save power during the peak hours.
On the PowerForward alert system green means adequate power to meet demand, but we need to conserve every day. You'll see a yellow alert when weather conditions and regional power supplies could come up short. You should cut back however you can; there were five yellow days last summer.
A red alert means power generation and transmission are marginal. On those days there is a real threat to the power supplies.
Governor Olene Walker: “Turn off all but emergency electric needs. This means turning off the air conditioning."
Saving during peak hours every day saves you money. It also keeps power companies from having to buy extra power on an emergency basis, at a steep price. Utah Power has a savings program for people who can shift their power use away from the prime time.