Record lows: Conservation, safety encouraged

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 7, 2014

With temperatures dropping to record lows this week, officials with both the City of Andalusia and Covington Electric Cooperative are asking residents to be frugal with their energy use.

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson said the city is cutting back on energy usage in an effort to avoid any outages, and hopes citizens will follow suit.

“The City of Andalusia is cutting back by discontinuing street lighting and other such lights that are not absolutely necessary,” Johnson said. “So, if you see a street light that is not illuminated, that may be because that light is intentionally turned off. It will be turned on again after this cold system has passed.”

Johnson said the added power production will cause extra stress on the system during the next 24 hours because of the added demand for electricity, which could lead to a loss of services.

“Please make every effort to conserve electricity tonight through (tomorrow) at noon to insure that we make it through the extreme conditions without anyone losing service,” Johnson said. “Working together, we can avoid any interruption in electric service during this extreme event.”

CEC General Manager Ed Short is also asking residents to monitor their usage in order to avoid any interruptions in service.

“CEC, together with our power supplier, will make every attempt to ensure our members receive continuous electric service,” Short said. “With our members’ cooperation, we can reduce our need for electricity, also reducing the risk of power outages.”

Customers of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative are also being asked to cut back – not only to avoid outages, but also in an effort to possibly save money on future bills by reducing the “peak demand.”

“Peak represents the highest demand for electricity, and it’s what our wholesale power supplier uses to determine the amount of electricity they must be prepared to provide us during the year,” said Brad Kimbro, director of member services for WEC.

Short said, while this week’s weather could have an effect on CEC’s peak demand, safety should be first on the minds of customers.

“First, we need to be safe,” Short said. “It’s possible this event could affect peak demand, but I don’t see it having an impact in Covington County.”

Short said the impact an outage could have, however, could be serious for CEC members with special needs, such as life support systems or other equipment – making avoiding any outages all the more important.

“CEC and our energy supplier have staff members working non-stop – from the power plants to the line crews,” Short said.