Archive for Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Utlities report record usage

August 27, 2003

Two electric companies that serve the Tonganoxie area set records for usage on Thursday, as temperatures soared above 105 degrees.

Both Leavenworth-Jefferson Rural Electric Cooperative and Westar Energy broke records.

According to Karla Olsen of Westar, the peak use came between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Previously, the utility had a set a record on Sept. 11, 2000.

Leavenworth-Jefferson customers' demand set a record at 6 p.m., according to Joe Heinen, director of member services for the McLouth-based cooperative.

"That was the bad day," he said. "The meters were really spinning. Everybody's home, and we always peak from 5 to 9 o'clock at night. That's the history of this co-op."

Leavenworth-Jefferson's 7,500 meters were spinning about 6 percent faster than they were on July 18, the date of the previous record.

"I hope that's the last one for this summer," Heinen said. "The heat's set in here, where it's penetrated the house structures. We need a rain to cool things off."

A chance for showers is possible on Thursday and Friday, according to forecasts.

Leavenworth-Jefferson counts about 3,100 Leavenworth County customers among its customer base that also includes Jefferson, Jackson and Atchison counties. In the Tonganoxie area, Leavenworth-Jefferson's customers primarily are north and west of town, as well as along U.S. Highway 24-40 in eastern Tonganoxie.

Heinen said has some advice for customers who are facing high electric bills -- and likely will face an increase in natural gas bill during the coming winter. He's a strong believer in the powers of 12 inches of insulation.

"I know when we re-insulated my attic, we went from eight to 12 inches, and within a day we were turning all the heaters down," he said.

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