Archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Heat causes increase in local utility usage

August 20, 2003

Scorching 100-degree heat caused Baldwin City to use a record amount of electricity Monday and prompted Rural Water District No. 4 to ask its customers to voluntarily reduce water usage.

Terry McKinney, Baldwin City utility director, said KCPL curtailed power to the city around noon Monday and that all four of the city's power generators were kicked on. They were able to handle the load of a record 9 megawatts of electricity used in the city.

"We've got all the engines running," said McKinney. "We're curtailed for the day (Monday). They're saying this will happen all week. Right now the comment KCPL has gotten from their weather guru is that these temperatures over 100 degrees will continue all week."

Scott Schultz, administrator for Rural Water District No. 4, said usage by the district's 1,000 customers was so high that the supply is just barely keeping up.

"We are encouraging our customers to curb nonessential water use such as watering lawns, washing cars and refilling swimming pools," said Schultz. "We're having trouble keeping our elevated tanks full. People are using it as fast as we can pump it in."

McKinney said water consumption in Baldwin was up, too, but no restrictions have been placed yet.

"With water, we're OK," he said. "Usage has gone up. We've seen it go up dramatically the last two weeks. But with our new water tower, we're keeping up."

McKinney isn't sure what might happen with electrical usage if temperatures remain high and demand stays at record levels.

"The question is how high will it go?" he said. "We're working down there in the heat with the engines, but so far we're doing good."

There was a power outage in the area of Baldwin High School Monday, but it was from a blown fuse and not related to the power demand. The outage lasted about 20 minutes, he said.

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