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"Peak alert" conservation urged Thursday and Friday
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Jan. 14, 2009) — Freezing temperatures could send electricity generation costs through the roof for the next two days, leading the power reseller that serves all Pulaski County cities and electric cooperatives to issue a “peak alert.”

Residents have been asked to minimize their use of electricity between 6 and 9 a.m. Thursday and Friday, as well as between 5 and 8 p.m. Thursday. The request was made by Sho-Me Power, which supplies electricity to city residents and businesses in Waynesville, St. Robert and Richland as well as to customers of Laclede Electric Cooperative, Gascosage Electric Cooperative and Intercounty Electric Cooperative.

Dixon and Crocker city residents as well as the surrounding areas get their electricity from Gascosage; most rural residents north and west of Fort Leonard Wood get their power from Laclede Electric and most residents south of Fort Leonard Wood get their power from Intercounty Electric.

There’s no reason to fear that Sho-Me Electric will run out of electricity, but it will have to pay considerably higher rates to purchase power from outside sources.

According to a Sho-Me Power press release, “peak alerts” are a voluntary program in which power companies ask residential and business customers to voluntarily conserve energy during the alert period by limiting power usage to one major appliance at a time and turning off any unnecessary lights, televisions, computers and other small appliances during the expected peak power usage period.

Peak alerts are more common during summer months when heavy usage of air conditioners causes electricity usage to soar. However, in areas like Pulaski County where most homes and businesses are heated by electricity rather than natural gas, wood, or other sources such as heating oil, peak alerts are sometimes needed in cold weather as well.

“We do see more in the summer, but in the city and some other places, you will see some summer highs and also winter highs as people use heat to heat their houses,” said Waynesville City Administrator Bruce Harrill.

Harrill said Dec. 21 was also a peak alert day for Waynesville.

“Long term this will just help us with keeping electric rates reasonable,” Harrill said. “We will have the same rates for our customers, but long-term if peak demand keeps increasing, the price that customers will pay will increase.”

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