PUC Urges Consumers to Conserve Energy During Frigid Temps

January 27, 2014

HARRISBURG – The extreme cold has significantly increased the demand for electricity, leading the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to call on consumers to conserve electricity.

“As cold weather once again grips Pennsylvania and the northeast, conserving electricity will help ensure power supplies can continue to meet the significant demand,” said PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson. “Again, we are asking residential consumers to do their part by postponing using appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and dryers until the demand for electricity decreases.”

PJM Interconnection is the electricity grid operator for more than 61 million people in 13 states (including Pennsylvania) and the District of Columbia. Earlier this month, PJM reached an all-time winter peak and the extreme cold has increased demand for electricity again. PJM has requested consumers throughout its region to conserve electricity today.

“We echo PJM’s call for all consumers to join in conserving electricity today, especially during peak times,” Chairman Powelson said.

Consumers are specifically asked to take conservation steps between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. when demand is highest. Simple conservation tips for residential consumers include:

1.     Set thermostats lower than usual, if health permits.

2.     Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m., when the demand for electricity decreases.

3.     Turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.

4.     Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible.  This includes overhead doors on attached garages.

5.     Seal off unused rooms.  Close the floor or wall registers and return air vents, and keep the doors closed in those areas.

6.     Open south-facing window curtains, drapes and blinds during the day.  Close coverings at night to keep the heat in.


The Commission also reminds consumers the frosty temperatures and increased use of heating systems will translate into higher energy bills in the coming months. Additional energy conservation tips are available on the PUC website.

“Consumers can do simple things around their homes to help ease the higher bills that will be associated with heating their homes during this winters’ extended cold,” Chairman Powelson said. “The same conservation measures that help during times of extreme electricity demand can be applied throughout the winter to help ease the sting of winter heating costs.”

The PUC’s message is simple: “Prepare Now” for higher energy costs this winter. Learn about the law related to utility shut-offs and know your rights. Save money by learning how to conserve energy. Heat your home safely. Explore budget billing options. Look into programs that help low-income customers restore and maintain service. Visit www.puc.pa.gov and click on "Prepare Now" or call the PUC at 1-800-692-7380.

Consumers should contact their electric utility if they experience an outage.

The companies also will be sharing information on social media such as Twitter. You can follow them: @Met_Ed; @Penelec; @penn_power; @W_Penn_Power; @PPLElectric; @UGI_Utilities; @DuquesneLight; @PECOconnect; @ORUconnect and @Citelectric. Consumers should not use social media to report outages or share account information or addresses.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility.  “Like” PAPowerSwitch on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.

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Jennifer Kocher

Press Secretary