The high temperatures prompted MidAmerican Energy to ask customers to cut back on their electric usage Tuesday. Spokesperson Ann Thelen says they have certain customers identified ahead of time to address the situation.
Thelen says, "Those are customers that are usually what we call key accounts that use more than 250 kilo-watt hours of demand. Those could be office complexes, hospitals, manufacturing facilities and when they voluntarily sign up for this program they agree in a time like today to reduce their load."
Thelen says the companies have plans in place to reduce their electricity usage. She says they can do several things from using non-essential equipment, maybe moving production to a different shift; some companies will even send employees home early. And then as part of this program at the end of the year they receive a check for participating in the program.
Thelen says others can help out by cutting back on their energy use by doing things such as keeping curtains closed and turning up the thermostat a few degrees. Thelen says the air conditioner will still keep you cool, but won’t use as much electricity.
She says you can also use fans to circulate the air, and avoid using the stove, dishwasher and clothes dryer until sundown. And she says avoid using the oven if you can cook a meal in a crock pot or grill out. Thelen says you too can plan ahead to save energy before a heat wave hits.
Thelen says check your air conditioner in a time when there is not peak demand and change filters. She says there are energy audits than can determine if your home leaks. She says if warm air is leaking out in the winter, then cold air is probably leaking out in the summer too.
Thelen says some 150 large customers currently participate in the energy curtailment program.