UPDATE: MG&E Reports New All-time Record for Power Demand

By: Dana Brueck Email
By: Dana Brueck Email

UPDATED Wednesday, July 20, 2011 --- 5:45 p.m.

Statement from MG&E:

Madison Gas and Electric set another all-time record for electricity demand today between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. The company supplied 777 megawatts of power to its nearly 140,000 customers. The previous power consumption record of 752 was set yesterday, July 19, 2011. Electricity supplies and transmission operations are adequate to meet continued demands.


UPDATED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 -- 6:15 p.m.
By NBC15's Dana Brueck

On Tuesday, Madison Gas and Electric set a new all-time record for electricity demand. It happened between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m., surpassing a previous record set in July of 2006.

And, we still have more days of heat to come.

The hum of the AC is almost constant these days as households keep their air conditioners running to keep cool during dangerously hot temperatures.

"On Sunday, we had the most power demanded from our customers for a single day on a Sunday," Steve Kraus of MG&E says.

Monday night, 4000 Alliant Energy customers found themselves without power for three hours. A spokesperson says the outage was due to a bad cable coming out of a substation.

It was not due to weather - and demand.

"All of the last holdouts are running their air conditioners when it gets this hot so we do see an increase and it can put a strain on the system but again for us, we don't anticipate any issues," Steve Schultz with Alliant Energy says.

Schultz says, in fact, the loss of some major customers, like GM, means high demand is less of an issue than it would've been years ago.

"Without a GM plant running, going full bore, around the clock and then everybody putting their air conditioner on to boot, you know, that gives us a little ... it buys us a little extra space, so to speak," Schultz says.

Both Alliant and MG&E expect no problems as the heat persists.

"A number of power plants have come online, and ATC has added a number of transmission lines that helps bring the power to Madison and has raised the reliability of electric system. Ten years ago, on days like this, we would go into them with a little bit of trepidation," Kraus says.

But keep in mind, keeping cool could cost you.

Alliant recommends a programmable thermostat set at 78 degrees or higher. A degree or two difference lowers usage 4% to 6%. "That can make a pretty good sized difference on your bill," Schultz says.

As many of us crank the AC, it's recommended you change your filter in the summer, too. Many of us change it in the winter, but replacing a filter when the AC's running also will help it run more efficiently.


Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2011 --- 9:45 a.m.

From Alliant Energy:

Madison, Wis. - July 19, 2011 - Alliant Energy is reminding customers some simple steps can make staying cool easier and more affordable during this extreme heat.

“With the hotter weather, most people’s top priority is staying cool,” said Jeanine Penticoff, director of Alliant Energy’s energy efficiency department. ”You can be comfortable and also be energy efficient. For example, for every degree your air conditioner is turned up, your energy usage decreases six to eight percent.”

Alliant Energy offers the following actions customers can take to reduce their electricity consumption safely and comfortably.

· Set the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher.

· Turn your air conditioner off when no one is home, or utilize a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperature based on your family’s schedule.

· Change out dirty air conditioner filters.

· Use ceiling fans or portable fans - a fan can make you feel 3 to 4 degrees cooler, so you can set your thermostat a few degrees higher and save on cooling costs. Fans do not cool homes, so turn them off when you leave the room.

· Close window blinds, shades and drapes during the day, especially on the south and west sides of your home.

· Use heat-generating appliances like ovens, dishwashers and laundry appliances in the early morning, later evening, or not at all.

· Turn off lights you aren’t using.

· Avoid opening refrigerators and freezers more than is necessary- know what you want before opening the door. Fridges work by moving heat from inside the unit to outside the unit.

· Use cold water for doing laundry and air dry your clothes outside.

· Ensure doors and windows are sealed properly. Any light through the door indicates outside air is coming into the home.

· Keep registers and cold-air returns clear of furniture and drapes.

· Avoid using stoves and ovens. Instead, use a microwave oven or outdoor grill. Using a microwave oven verses a stove can save up to 70% in energy costs.

Manage your costs year round, with no surprises, when you sign up for Budget Billing.

Budget Billing spreads your energy costs across the entire year. You pay one set bill amount every month. As the name of the program suggests, since you know how much you’ll pay, it really helps your monthly budget.

To find out an estimated calculation of how much you might pay per month on a Budget Billing plan or to enroll in this program, please visit alliantenergy.com/youraccount.

More information about saving energy at home is available on Alliant Energy’s Power House website at powerhousetv.com or by calling Alliant Energy’s customer service center at 1-866-ALLIANT.

Alliant Energy places a priority on delivering the energy and exceptional service that its customers count on – safely, efficiently and responsibly. Alliant Energy reminds customers they can play an active part in controlling energy use.

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