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Posted on: June 29, 2018

Danville Utilities receives peak power alert

Danville Utilities sign on building

Danville Utilities is requesting that its electric customers conserve power from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, July 2, and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, because of a peak alert issued by its wholesale power supplier.

A peak alert means that conditions will exist that may cause demand for electricity across the regional power grid that serves Danville to be at its highest point of the year.

“There will be plenty of power available, but there is a higher cost in generating and transmitting larger loads of power,” Utilities Director Jason Grey said Friday.

Transmission and generation capacity charges for Danville and other utilities are set, in part, during these periods of high demand. With each added megawatt used, utilities are billed thousands of dollars in peaking charges.

Grey explained that power suppliers have to be ready to produce enough power to supply the peak.

“That means using equipment that otherwise would not be needed and would sit idle. Their costs go up, and they pass that cost along to us.”

Danville buys power on the open market and is part of the PJM grid, or the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland Electric Regional Transmission Operator. Temperatures in communities across this region are expected to range from the low to upper 90s on Monday and Tuesday.

In Danville, a high of 94 is forecast on both Monday and Tuesday.

PJM bases its generation capacity charges on the five highest peak usage hours on the regional grid from June through September. Peak usage in the summer likely will occur on hot and humid weekday afternoons when air conditioners are working extra hard to cool homes and workplaces.

In addition to generation capacity charges, Danville and other utilities incur added transmission costs during periods of peak demand. Danville’s transmission provider is American Electric Power, which bases its transmission charges on the highest peak usage hour in a year.

American Municipal Power, the wholesale power supplier for Danville and more than 130 other members in five states, monitors the power grid and issues peak alerts as needed.

Customers can take simple conservation steps during peak periods:

  • Shut off lights when not needed,
  • Unplug small appliances and electric chargers (especially those with small lights),
  • Set your air conditioner thermostat up 5 degrees and use fans,
  • Run the dishwasher and do laundry and other household chores requiring electricity during hours other than the peak hours,
  • Turn off televisions, computers, radios and other electronic devices when not being used.

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