With the bitter cold increasing the demand for electricity, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission joined operators of the region's electric grid in asking people to conserve electricity to protect the power supply.
"Conserving electricity will help ensure power supplies can continue to meet the historic demand we are experiencing as heating systems work overtime to keep up with the frigid temperatures," said PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson said in a release.
Here's what you can do, the PUC says:
—Set thermostats lower than usual, if health permits
—Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m., when the demand for electricity decreases
—Turn off lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using
—Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible. This includes overhead doors on attached garages
—Seal off unused rooms. Close the floor or wall registers and return air vents, and keep the doors closed in those areas
—Open south-facing window curtains, drapes and blinds during the day. Close coverings at night to keep the heat in.
“Large electricity users have already been called upon to restrict usage," Powelson said.
PJM Interconnection, which also urged the public to conserve energy, is the electricity grid operator for more than 61 million people in 13 states (including Pennsylvania) and the District of Columbia. PJM reached an all-time winter peak at 8 a.m. Tuesday, the PUC said. The next peak usage period was expected to be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
Additional energy conservation tips are available on the PUC website.
Consumers should contact their electric utility if they experience an outage.
- Met-Ed/Penelec/Penn Power/West Penn Power: 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877)
- PPL: 1-800-342-5775
- PECO: 1-800-841-4141
- UGI: 1-800-276-2722