Columbiana Electric customers asked to trim usage

Saving power can trim future rates

With the temperature expected to reach nearly 90 degrees today and continue climbing until topping out at 95 on Saturday, the city is asking residents to curtail electric usage today and Friday.

City Manager Lance Willard said raising the thermostat in your home by several degrees or reducing usage between 2 to 6 p.m. will not only save people money but city government as well.

Columbiana purchases its electricity through American Municipal Power, a non-profit corporation which provides electric production, transmission and distribution services to 121 member communities. A portion of Columbiana’s rates come from transmission charges, which are based off city-wide electric demand on the peak periods — usually the hottest and coldest days of the year.

“Once the community’s electric demand rises to peak levels, higher charges get locked into place” for the next year, Willard said. “By conserving energy as a community, we can avoid letting these charges get too far out of hand and work to keep prices down for everyone.”

The effort is called Community Energy Savings Days, which Willard just learned about in 2018.

“Last year is the first time we tried doing it,” he said, and last summer’s volunteer energy reduction saved the city an estimated total of $120,000, or $35 per household.

Besides turning up the thermostat several degrees, residents and businesses are asked to use fans, unplug electronics when not being used, turn off lights, pull curtains and blinds, and hold off running the stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer until after 6 p.m.

Willard said they are not asking residents to turn off their air conditioning. “Raise your thermostat a couple degrees, pull your curtains. That’s pretty simple,” he said.

Reducing usage could help avoid power outage blackouts that come overloading the system, which sometimes occurs during heat waves.

“With the temperatures tomorrow and the next day it’s looking like the area is going to use a lot power,” Willard said.