While the energy suppliers don’t quite put it this frankly, the message to ‘conserve energy or lose power’ is one that you can bet on receiving when the weather turns cold and an arctic freeze, the worst in a long time, is wreaking havoc on the energy grid. This is exactly what had occurred at the beginning of this month with PJM Interconnection, the electricity grid operator for 13 states, including the District of Columbia. PJM asked consumers to save energy on January 6th and even while the request was out to conserve energy, the peak winter energy use record from 2007 was broken twice!
As you can guess, people use more power as the temperature drops. The colder weather means you crank up the heat, especially when snow and ice cause people to stay at home. If people are at home, that also means household appliances such as stoves, washing machines, and others might be running where they may otherwise not have been used. If you throw in lighting this adds another drain on the grid as well, and outages are inevitable with the cold and wind.
What does energy conservation do?
If residents and businesses actively make efforts to conserve, you can lessen the load on the energy grid. This ensures not only adequate power supplies to everyone, but it can also help protect against any type of outage. If grid operators such as PJM Interconnection notice a problem and conservation efforts are not adhered to or effective, other measures can be taken, such as reducing voltage.
What steps can we take to help conserve energy?
Many of the cost saving tips we offered here in our blog from September hold true. PJM specifically highlighted these three simple requests:
- Set your thermostat to a lower temperature
- Postpone the use of major appliances until mid-day or after 9pm
- Turn off appliances or lights that aren’t in use
Following simple energy conservation tips can help ensure that you stay warm while the weather turns frigid. You can keep an eye on these special requests by visiting PJM’s website or your local regional transmission organization.