KISSIMMEE, Fla., January 4, 2010 – Continued cold temperatures in Central Florida could send Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) customer demand for electricity soaring to a new winter record in the next 48 hours.
A freeze warning and wind chill advisory are in effect from 1 a.m. – 9 a.m. Tuesday, and a freeze watch is in effect from late Tuesday through Wednesday morning.
Demand for electricity on Tuesday morning is expected to be significant. KUA’s system peak on Monday was 272.2 megawatts (MW). The utility’s all-time winter peak is 301.2 MW, set on Jan. 22, 2009. One megawatt is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatts and can power 750 average homes.
“We expect to see high electricity use by our customers during the next 48 hours,” said Chris Gent, KUA’s vice president of corporate communications. “Our power plants are up and running and in great shape, and we have excess power in reserve if we need it.”
The utility encourages residents to be prepared for the freezing temperatures and offers these tips for warmth and energy conservation:
• Keep the thermostat on your heating system at the lowest comfortable setting. KUA recommends setting the temperature at 68 degrees during the day. Each degree you raise your thermostat will cost you approximately eight percent more.
• For heat pump users, set the thermostat to a constant setting and leave it there, and make sure drapes and furniture are not blocking air registers or returns.
• Exercise extreme caution when using space heaters. Don’t place them near curtains, furniture, newspapers or other combustible materials, or on rugs. And don’t overload circuits. Use portable electric heaters to heat only a small area and buy models that are thermostatically controlled.
• Make sure any indoor heaters, like wood stoves or kerosene heaters, have adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Likewise, make sure the flue of your fireplace is working properly and remains closed when the fireplace is not in use.
• Use ceiling fans to distribute heat around the room. Reverse the direction of the fan blades from that used for summer cooling.
• Use exhaust fans sparingly in winter. Heat and moisture from bathing and cooking contribute heat to your home. Don’t, however, use the oven to heat a room.
• Cover bare floors. Carpeting adds to comfort and heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
• Wear layers of clothing rather than one heavy piece. Layers efficiently trap body heat and provide greater comfort. Additionally, the layers can be removed to maintain comfort as the body warms.
Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 62,000 customers in five Central Florida counties.
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Chris M. Gent