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Hamilton electric utility urges residents to conserve power during afternoons this week

Posted at 10:05 AM, Aug 24, 2021

HAMILTON, Ohio — During the sweltering heat this week, Hamilton utility officials are urging customers to conserve electricity, particularly between 3 and 6 p.m. today through Thursday, and possibly Friday, according to the Journal-News.

How well the city’s electric utility is able to avoid purchasing power from the nation’s electric grid not only will save the utility potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars this year, but also significant amounts of money — potentially millions of dollars over time.

Also, noted Nathan Perry, the city’s director of business services, after this month’s excessive heat, higher electric bills are likely next month because people’s air conditioners are working harder and for more hours to cool houses.

“As you conserve energy during the summer, you’re going to be able to save on your bill that goes out,” Perry said.

“This week is going to be an extended length of heat,” he said. “It’s supposed to be in the mid-90s, with lows in the 70s, through Monday. As we see that consistent heat over heat, customers’ AC units have to work longer and harder.”

If people simply turn up their thermostats 3-5 degrees each day between 3 to 6 p.m., “that will help the whole utility save on demand, as well as the customers seeing savings on their bill that month,” Perry said.

Other city suggestions on saving electricity during the heat:

  • Wait until the evenings or early mornings to run energy-intensive appliances like dishwashers and clothes dryers. Consider hanging your clothes to dry.
  • Avoid the oven. Not only might your oven run on electric, but the heat it gives off as you are using it also requires your AC to work harder.
  • Close your blinds to help keep the evening sun’s heat from entering your home.

During peak electric use this week, the city may be using 130-135 megawatts overall, compared to 60-80 on a typical spring or autumn day.

“For every megawatt we can reduce, we can potentially save between $60,000 and $70,000 a year, so to put that in terms, if half of our residents were to curtail 20% of their load, we could see hundreds of thousands of dollars (less) in costs over the next year.”

The more Hamilton’s municipal utility has to purchase power from the electric grid this year, the higher charges it will experience next year for the costs of utilities elsewhere producing and transmitting the power to the city.

That could cost the city $60,000-$70,000 per megawatt a month.

“So as we can reduce that load, there’s quite a bit of money we can save as a utility, and then all of that gets passed on to our customers,” Perry said.

Also, to help avoid buying from the grid, the city has two natural-gas generators, a diesel generator and its small hydroelectric plant along the Great Miami River to generate 42 additional megawatts.