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Danville Utilities thanks customers for their efforts to conserve energy during Monday’s peak power period, which was from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Customer power usage peaked at 178 megawatts, down 29 megawatts from a high of 207 megawatts when snow fell in mid-February.Because of hot and humid conditions Monday afternoon, Danville’s wholesale power supplier issued a peak alert, anticipating that the city’s power usage could surpass the February mark.Transmission charges for the following year are set, in part, by peak usage. With each added megawatt, Danville and other utilities are billed thousands of dollars in added transmission charges.In addition to yesterday’s conservation efforts by customers, Danville Utilities operated the city-owned Pinnacles Hydro-Electric Complex in Patrick County at full capacity. The plant provides power to the city during times of maximum electric power demand.The city spends an average of $6 million per year — about $500,000 a month — in transmission charges. Danville’s peak usage over the past 20 years most often has occurred during the summer months. However, in 2014 and 2015, the peak usage came during winter, including a record high of 229.7 megawatts in January 2014.
ORIGINAL STORY POSTED MONDAY, JUNE 27
Danville Utilities is requesting that its electric customers conserve power today from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. because of a peak alert issued by its wholesale power supplier. Peak alerts are issued when it is anticipated that the demand for electricity may be at its highest ever.
Danville Utilities pays for that maximum level of power whether needed at all times or not.
“A peak alert doesn’t mean that the supply of electricity is being depleted or that there is something wrong with the power grid,” said Meagan Baker, key accounts manager for Danville. “They’re just trying to take every avenue to reduce costs for customers."
American Municipal Power, the wholesale power supplier for Danville and more than 130 other members in five states, issued the peak alert due to the hot and humid conditions expected this afternoon. In summer months, peak usage likely will occur on hot and humid afternoons when air conditioners are working extra hard to cool homes and buildings.
Because of hot and humid conditions, Danville’s transmission peak is predicted to exceed its previous record set in February 2016.
"If we can conserve during these peak hours, then the City can save on transmission costs next year,” Baker said. “Lowering the peak demand will help keep the City’s electricity rates low.”
Customers can take simple conservation steps such as shutting off lights when not needed; unplugging small appliances and electric chargers (especially those with small lights); raising the thermostat a degree or two; closing curtains, drapes and blinds; doing laundry, running the dishwasher and other household chores requiring electricity during hours other than the peak hours; and turning off televisions, computers, radios, and other electronic devices when not being used.
“As a municipal electric system, owned by its citizens and customers, it is contingent upon those same citizens and customers to keep the electric rates for themselves and all other customers of Danville Utilities as low as possible,” Baker said. “Our citizens and customers have the opportunity to make a difference in their system and their rates by conserving energy during peak periods. As forecast dictates, we will most likely be asking our citizens and customers to again conserve energy at additional times this summer.”