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CPBJ Extra Blog

Voluntary electricity reduction in January? Thank you, polar vortex

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That polar vortex last week was tons of fun, eh?

Personally, we had to have oil delivered to our house late in the week — and when we called the company at 10 p.m. to leave a message, a human answered the phone and said, "Sure, we can deliver it tomorrow. Our crews have been delivering almost 18 hours every day to make sure nobody's left without heat."

So, the polar vortex made us think about our heating systems and sources. It taught many of us a hard lesson about the dangers of pipes freezing and bursting (which in turn has kept restoration companies hopping for nearly a week now). We chose our clothing with more deliberate care, finding the warmest work-appropriate pieces in our wardrobes — and then adding a few extra layers.

But what hadn't occurred to me at all was the increased electrical load. Because, in my mind, that's a summer issue, when it's so hot we're all running our air-conditioning systems nonstop.

Staff reporter Jason Scott wrote a short online story last week about how various midstate companies were being affected by the cold snap. It included this tidbit:

"Lititz-based Susquehanna Bank on Tuesday participated in a voluntary electrical load reduction at the request of PJM Interconnect. The bank ran generators at its main office building in Lititz, which houses 440 employees, to take the building off the electrical grid.

"The intent was to help reduce demand and the possibility of local brownouts or blackouts,

"Susquehanna participates in this program on a limited basis from June to September."

See? June to September. The summer months.

But the idea of — and need for — voluntary load reduction in the winter is well worth discussing. Did your company reduce its electrical usage in any way last week? Have you ever had to do so during the winter before? Do you every voluntarily reduce electricity usage during the hottest times of the summer? Why or why not?

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Amy Gulli

Amy Gulli

Amy Gulli is the managing editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a question or tip for her? Email her at Follow her on Twitter, @amygulli. Circle Amy Gulli on .

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