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Ed Yeates ReportingThe green, yellow and red days of summer are back again, but this year, something new is being offered.
The Governor's office today officially implemented the traditional color code warnings designed to conserve electricity as the demand pushes the system to its limits.
As power lines hum - the system strains to provide. In July and August, especially, as people try to keep cool, Utah Power and the Governor's office are again asking consumers to conserve.
"Governor Michael Leavitt: "Our objective is very clearly to shave the peak."
Shave the peak when the demand for electricity is at its highest and the cost to buy it is too.
Bill Landels, vice president, Utah Power: "We've got to have infrastructure to deliver it, infrastructure to produce it in the first place; or if it's really peaky, we've got to go into the marketplace and buy it - and that money goes out of the state of Utah."
For the first time this summer, Utah Power is offering a cash incentive device to consumers if they want it. It's called "Cool Keeper.” When installed on refrigerated central air conditioners, the utility can cycle individual units off for up to fifteen minutes every half hour at different intervals, relieving the strain on the system during peak days.
Though Utah Power has expanded its distribution system - hot, dry temperatures will still push it to its limits. For example, the transformers, next month, especially, as the evenings stay warm, can't cool down, and so they will likely burn up."
Utah Power says though the population base increased as predicted, more central air is in use among current consumers than ever before.
Dave Eskelsen, Utah Power: "More than half of the electricity that our residential customers use goes to keep things cool - the house, the food."
The advice again: Keep coils on air conditioners and refrigerators clean, install programmable thermostats on air conditioners, and use your washer, dryer and dishwasher at night when peak loads are low.
Remember as of today, the color-coding system for energy saving is in place.
Green means normal conservation; Yellow signals the need for extra conservation; and Red means conservation is critical.