Norwich utility customers heed warning of energy conservation du - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Norwich utility customers heed warning of energy conservation during potential heat wave

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Norwich utility company asks customers to conserve energy during potential heat wave. (WFSB) Norwich utility company asks customers to conserve energy during potential heat wave. (WFSB)

The state is in the middle of a potential heatwave, and independent utility companies are being pushed to the brink.

Norwich Public Utilities is asking its customers to use the power wisely during some peak hours.

Officials said customers see around a 10 percent savings, but the grid is smaller than most. Now, no one has seen their service affected yet, and that is why there’s such a need to conserve.

“It's usually in the middle of the week when the industries and the businesses are all running, using their equipment, drawing the power drain,” said John Bilda, NPU general manager.

The utility company issued a power alert, asking its customers to use their electricity wisely between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., when electricity demand is at its highest.

“That’s when the load continues and continues to grow on a system like we have here in Norwich,” Bilda said.

Unlike the big grids at United Illuminated or Eversource, since the city is responsible for its power, they want to make sure the grids don’t get overloaded.

“On very hot days like today, it's the stress and the strain on the system, the transformers become overloaded and the wires will sag as the current increases as the heat continues to grow,” Bilda said.

That overload could trip breakers, so crews are urging customers to run window air conditioning units only when someone is home.

If you have central air, they said 73 is a perfect temperature. Also, wait until after 6 p.m. to run dishwashers or dryers and avoid using an oven or any other appliances that generate heat.

“That's simply helping themselves lower the overall energy costs on an annual basis,” Bilda said.

A lot of people have been heeding his advice.

Jennifer Haynes, of Norwich, used the Otis Library in downtown to escape the heat on Thursday.

"I'm outside for part of the day, so if I come here, I don't have to worry about getting heatstroke," Haynes said.

Library Director Bob Farwell said he's seen a measurable uptick in visitors on warm days.

"We tracked it over several years so it's something we anticipate and we're happy to be available to those who need it," Farwell said.

Mitch Gross, spokesperson for Eversource, which is a company that serves 149 cities and towns, said heat waves are what their workers train for.

"We have and continue to invest millions of dollars into the system to make it strong and reliable," Gross said.

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