GRU Breaks Electricity Demand Record
GRU customers created a record winter peak demand for electricity at 7:26 a.m., Thursday morning. The new record of 451 megawatts breaks the previous winter record of 445 megawatts set on February 6, 2009. During a typical winter day, the demand for power ranges from 270 to 280 megawatts.
Karen Alford, GRU’s director of power operations, said, “GRU’s power systems coordinators have done a great job in maintaining the reliability of the community’s power supply during this challenging week of extremely low temperatures, performing hard work around the clock.”
With power produced at both the Deerhaven and Kelly generating stations, and contractual purchased power agreements, GRU has been able to meet the demand, which is still below the all time record summer demand of 484 megawatts set on August 8, 2009. Summer demand is typically higher than winter because almost all air conditioning is powered by electricity, whereas heating is created by multiple fuel sources.
An unusual stretch of cold weather drove the demand. Winter peak records are more typically set in late January or early February. Winter peaks are set in the early hours, when residents turn up the heat as they get out of bed to get ready for work.
GRU will be able to keep residents warm, but advises customers to take precautions to keep down heating costs with the following tips:
1. Set thermostats at 68 degrees or lower when heating. Bills increase up to 4 percent for each degree above the recommended setting of 68 degrees. With a furnace or standard electric heating, turn the system off or down when away from home for longer than 2-3 hours
2. But customers with heat pumps should set the thermostat at 68 degrees and leave it there to avoid using the emergency heat setting.
3. Use a programmable thermostat to help maintain recommended temperatures
4. Dress for the weather. Shorts and t-shirts inside are for summer, sweaters, slippers and afghans can keep customers comfortable while keeping the home at 68 degrees
5. Check heating system's filters once a month and clean or replace as needed
6. Service heating equipment. Maintaining heating systems helps them last longer while using less energy
7. Weatherize homes. Heating bills can be reduced by 10 to 25 percent by simply caulking, sealing and weather-stripping around all windows, outside doors or where plumbing, duct work and electrical wiring penetrate exterior walls, floors or ceilings
8. Check ducts for air leaks. Look for joints that should be connected but have separated. Use a Partnering Contractor and GRU may rebate a portion of the repair costs
9. Make sure homes are properly insulated in order to keep the heat inside. Gainesville homes should have R-30 in their attics and R-11 under raised floors. GRU offers rebates for insulation
10. Try to avoid large use items and appliances in the mornings when getting ready and after work or school. These include items such as washers, dryers and pool pumps
11. Visit www.gru.com throughout the heating season for tips, online energy tools and rebate information
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