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Columbiana to ask electric customers to conserve power on hottest days

COLUMBIANA — For the past several years, the city has asked residents to participate in conserving energy for a couple of the hottest days of summer. As the strategy has paid off from last year’s efforts, the city is preparing to do it again when the temperatures rise.

The city purchases its electricity through American Municipal Power, a non-profit corporation that provides electric production, transmission and distribution services to the community. Transmission charges are based off community-wide electric demand on the hottest and coldest days of the year – demand peaks. It is also a portion of the city’s rates.

City Manager Lance Willard said that if residents are able to raise their thermostat or reduce usage during these energy savings days, it will lower electric rates for the future.

“Once the community’s electric demand rises to peak levels, higher charges get locked into place,” 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.”

Residents can lower their electric usage by taking various measures, including shutting off lights when leaving a room, raising the thermostat, saving laundry until later in the day, unplugging unused electronics or grilling out instead of cooking inside.

In 2019, the city did its job in reducing their electricity usage during the peak hours of Community Energy Savings Day. The day before the city put out the request to residents and businesses, Columbiana’s load was 16.057 MW or 0.1387% of the FirstEnergy system.

In comparison, during the peak hour of last year’s Community Energy Savings Day, the city’s load dropped to 15.689 MW or 0.1248% of the FirstEnergy system. Cities’ loads at the time of the FirstEnergy annual peak hour determine their share of FirstEnergy’s transmission costs for the next year.

While the reduction of total load seems insignificant, FirstEnergy’s transmission costs for 2020 were projected to be $783 million. By reducing their share of the load by 0.0139% like last year, residents and businesses’ power cost will be lower by a total of more than $100,000 in 2020.

In order to pinpoint the peak day to shave the energy usage, the city may ask the residents and businesses to participant multiple times throughout the year. Willard receives daily updates from energy researchers to determine whether or not a given day is prime for conserving energy.

The city will continue to monitor the temperature and send out an announcement to residents and businesses in advance.

slendak@mojonews.com

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