The heatwave stretching across Iowa prompted utility companies to issue a “peak alert” for electric usage this morning. MidAmerican Energy spokesman Alan Urlis says the peak alert is not an indication that we’re close to running out of electricity. He says the peak alert is required by the Iowa Utilities Board, and the board also requires utilities to have 15 percent more capacity in reserve than the peak. Urlis says the peak alert is required to alert customers to the need to cut back on unnecessary usage. He says reducing the demand helps keep the costs down by limiting the need of MidAmerican to run higher cost generating plants, or the need to buy more expensive power from out of state. With the temperatures in the high 90s and above, the wheels on the energy meters outside businesses and homes are spinning like a top. He says the company anticipates setting a record for peak load today. The old record set last July was three-thousand-887 megawatts, and they believe the load from three-thousand-950 to four thousand megawatts. Urlis says the jump in temperatures makes a big difference for electric usages. He says the usage is up 10 percent from last week when we had normal summer temperatures. Urlis says usage last week was in the range of 35 to 36-hundred megawatts. He says you can take several steps to cut your juice use during the peak times. He says you can limit clothes drying, baking and other such activities until later in the evening. He says you should also turn up the thermostat a few degrees, especially if you’re going to be out of your house during the day. A heat advisory is in effect for much of western and southern Iowa through tonight.
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