15 Sep 2014
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Light Plant Handles Heat

Customers Alerted to Avoid Peak Usage.

The Concord Municipal Light Plant reports no problem handling the peak demand for energy during the current heat wave.

That is due, in part, to the cooperation of the customers in town that are responding to an emailed request generated from the light plant to turn up  the thermostat on the air-conditioner a few degrees and avoid using electricity between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m.

"Those are the peak hours," said CMLP's Dale Cronan.

He put up signs throughout town alerting residents to the risk of a power failure should the demand come all at once during the peak time. And he sent a message to that effect through the CMLP Google email program dubbed CAP, an acronym for Concord Addressing the Peak.

"We are already higher than last year's peak," said Cronan. "And it's only July 7."

Cronan said last year, about 100 rate-payers had signed up to receive messages from the light plant; this year he has around 250.

Cronan said the regional power source charges towns such as Concord a rate for electricity based on the hour of highest demand during the summer. He thinks the town hit the highest hour on Tuesday between 2 and 3 p.m. That means that for the entire year, customers will be billed a rate per kilowatt hour based on the usage during that hour.

"Of course, we won't know the peak until the summer is over," said Cronan, "but all of New England is charged for the year based on that peak."

He advises not only turning up the AC, but using appliances sparingly if at all during the afternoon hours on hot days. Swimming pool pumps are another big draw on the system, and he said homeowners may want to consider shutting them off in the blazing heat.

With the Fourth of July holiday on Monday, and many commercial outfits closed for the long weekend, Tuesday was also not just hot, but businesses were opening up and turning all their power on, so that created a mini-surge in electric use, he said.

Carole Hilton, CMLP customer service coordinator, said the Town House and other departments are pitching in too, and turning off unnecessary power.

"People are cooperating. We have 12 commercial customers that are on our list," said Hilton, who is pitching the idea of signing up for the e-alerts.

"It all helps the environment, peace of mind, and the wallet," said Cronan as the lights in the CMLP conference room went off at the preset time. The meeting was over.

Residents who wish to sign up for the CMLP messages should go to www.concordnet.org and click on the light plant page and follow instructions on it. There is a link: Google Group CMLP-CAP.

Hilton can be reached at 978 318-3158.


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