Grand Island, NE -
When the forecast calls for hot, power companies say they prepare for a jump in electricity and water use. Summer means irrigation, which adds to Nebraska’s rural power company demands, but for urban providers, it’s air conditioners adding to the load. “Our generation follows whatever the load is, so when load is down our generation is down, but then again this time of year when the load is up, then we’re probably around 90 or 95% of capacity right now,” says Grand Island Utilities Director Tim Luchsinger. Luchsinger says they plan for extra usage this time of year, but with just a handful of extremely hot days, is not expecting to set records like the city did in 2012 (click HERE for those numbers).
“When you get those two or three days of really hot weather and it doesn’t let up and especially if it happens during the middle of the week, that’s when we’ll see the peaks,” says Luchsinger. Energy companies say consumers can lighten the load and help their own rates during sweltering days. Closing the drapes, using fans, showering and running appliances like dryers or the stove in the cooler morning and evening hours cuts down on energy use. When it gets hot and dry water usage can be an issue too, but with a wetter spring and summer, may not be this year. “Started off dry, but then we’ve got some pretty good rains here in the last month or two,” says Luchsinger. “Back in the early 2000s when we had several years of drought we were a little more concerned, but we never did have any problems, and we’re obviously in a little better shape right now.”
Power companies say the highest demand usually comes between the hours of 3pm and 8pm when most people are home and using appliances.