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If temperatures drop below zero, you can help keep the lights on

Chelan County PUD
News Release
12/17/2008

Chelan County PUD is asking customers for help to lighten the load on the power grid if temperatures continue to drop during this extended cold snap.

If low temperatures drop to zero or below, PUD customers are asked to:

  • Turn off holiday lights. 
  • Avoid running the dishwasher or doing laundry during the high-power-use hours of 6 to 10 a.m. on weekdays.

Demand is typically less during the morning on weekends when schools and offices are closed.  

There is plenty of electricity to meet demand during this cold snap, said Kirk Hudson, Utility Services managing director. The concern is the strain on distribution system equipment caused by a long stretch of below-zero temperatures, Hudson said.

If customers can cut back on power use when temperatures drop below zero, it reduces the load on distribution equipment which is delivering higher than normal amounts of power for an extended time, Hudson said.

“It’s a precaution,” he said. “When temperatures drop into the minus range, if everyone can trim their use of electricity just a little, it could help prevent a power outage.” 

Tips for saving energy during the winter, protecting against frozen water pipes and preparing for a power outage are posted on the PUD’s Web site at www.chelanpud.org . Look for the links under “Cold Weather Alert.”

To help save energy:

  • Set your thermostat at 68 degrees, or at a temperature that’s comfortable for you.
  • Check furnace or heat pump filters and replace if dirty. A dirty filter restricts warm air and makes your heating system work harder.
  • Make sure your foundation vents are closed. If your vents do not close, tape plastic over the outside to help keep out the cold. This helps keep your home warmer and protects against frozen water pipes.

To protect water pipes:

  • Consider letting a cold water faucet drip continuously when the weather is at its coldest. If your pipes do freeze, be cautious of potential fire hazards in using heat sources to thaw them.
  • Know the location of the water shut-off valve in your home. Check to make sure it works.
  • Open cupboard doors under sinks, especially where plumbing is in outside walls, to let interior heat warm the pipes.
  • If you are away from home for any length of time, leave the thermostat set at least at 55 degrees. Shut off water to the house and open all faucets to drain pipes; flush the toilet once to drain the tank, but not the bowl.

If there is a power outage:

  • Call the PUD’s outage information line at 1-877-PUD-8123 (1-877-783-8123).
  • Turn off all but one light (so you can tell when service is restored).
  • Turn down your furnace thermostat.
  • Turn off the breaker for your electric water heater.
  • Wait 10 minutes after power is restored before turning everything back on.  

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For more energy saving tips, call the Conservation Department at 661-8008 or visit the PUD’s Web site at www.chelanpud.org and click on “energy conservation” on the left side of the home page.

If you are a Chelan County PUD water customer with questions about your service, call 661-4254.

Kimberlee Craig
Public Information Officer
509.661.4320, office
509.679.6858, cell
kimc@chelanpud.org