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Danville Utilities is requesting that its electric customers conserve power Wednesday and Thursday from 3 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 across the regional power grid that serves Danville may be at its highest.
Transmission and 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.
Meagan Baker, key accounts manager for Danville, reminds customers that a peak alert does not mean that the supply of electricity is being depleted or that there is something wrong with the power grid.
“They’re just trying to take every avenue to reduce costs for customers,” she said.
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 reach the 90s.
PJM bases its capacity charges on the five highest peak usage hours from June through September. Peak usage likely will occur on hot and humid afternoons when air conditioners are working extra hard to cool homes and buildings.
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.