PowerSouth prepared for demand

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2015

With temperatures forecast to drop below the 20-degree mark today and tomorrow, Covington County’s power producer, PowerSouth, has taken steps to ensure reliability during the cold snap, and at least one local electric cooperative has issued a “peak alert.”

PowerSouth Communications Manager Mark Ingram said Wednesday that steps including winterizing and testing its generation and transmission facilities, as well as putting additional units online or purchasing additional energy when needed, have been taken to ensure needs are met.

“There are ample energy supplies available compared to this time last year, because cold weather is not as widespread as in January 2014,” Ingram said. “PowerSouth doesn’t anticipate problems with meeting the high electricity demand because we prepare ahead of time to have resources in place to meet our members’ energy needs regardless of what Mother Nature has in store for us.”

Local electric cooperatives are urging members to be energy conscious, as well.

“As part of the peak alert demand, we are asking for our members’ help in holding down power costs,” said Wiregrass Electric Cooperative Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro. “By using electricity more efficiently during the peak hours Thursday and Friday, members can help themselves by helping the Wiregrass Electric system use less power.”

Kimbro said peak demand is when customers use the most electricity.

Peak represents the highest demand for electricity, and it’s the number of kilowatt-hours PowerSouth used to determine the amount of electricity they must be prepared to provide electric cooperatives with during the year.

A higher demand creates a higher peak, which means higher energy costs.

Kimbro said from 6 a.m., this morning until 8 a.m. Friday, customers are asked to consider ways they can use less electricity.

He suggested the following:

• Set your thermostat to 68 degrees rather than 72 degrees-plus;

• Take showers the night before, if possible, to avoid extensive use of water heaters;

• Likewise, run your dishwasher and washing machine the night before, later in the morning or in the afternoon;

• Limit the use of TVs, gaming consoles, computers and unnecessary lighting.

Regardless, Kimbro said he wanted customers to understand that WEC has the means to meet the energy needs of customers no matter how much electricity homes and businesses demand.

“But by working together on these cold mornings, we can limit the peak demand and hold down wholesale power costs for everyone.”

WEC serves a southern portion of Covington County.