Utah Programs Aim to Keep People Cool this Summer

Utah Programs Aim to Keep People Cool this Summer

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Ed Yeates Reporting"Cool off, people...Cool down the risk for brownouts." That was the message today as temperatures along the Wasatch Front and in Utah's Dixie again exceeded 100 degrees.

While it was the low 100's in Salt Lake this afternoon the temperature of most roofs easily exceeded 115 degrees. But workers with Lifecare Bank withstood the searing heat trying to get 67-year-old Lydia Contreras some cool air inside her baking house.

Lifecare is currently installing donated swamp coolers and air conditioners at no cost for the elderly living alone and trying to survive on low fixed incomes.

Sara Beckstead, Community Services Council: "We know that there are hundreds of seniors that we don't even know need our help and so if there are people out there who need help or know someone who needs help - they can give us a call."

While Lifecare here was trying to keep people cool, Utah Power today switched on a new system to cool down the demands for electricity.

For the first time, the utility sent out a command from a lap top computer triggering selected central air conditioners along the Wasatch Front to cycle down. From transmitter towers, microwave signals moved along the Wasatch Front from Santaquin on the south to North Ogden.

Those air conditioners sporting little switches obeyed the signals. Compressors cycled off and on at fifteen minute intervals over a four hour period taking the load off the power grid.

Bill Markek, Program Manager, Utah Power: "It can reduce it about 90 megawatts, which is the equivalent of about 25-thousand homes."

That's the hope as Cool Keep, as it's called, catches on. The switches are free and there's a cash incentive for those who want them.

Utah Power eventually wants Cool Keep across the state, especially to areas like St. George which today again neared the 115 degree mark.

For more information on Lifecare, call 978-2452.

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