Archive for Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Cooperative customers set records

Electricity use peaks at about 6 p.m. Sunday

July 23, 2003

An area cooperative's customers set a record for electricity use Friday evening -- and then broke that record on Sunday.

"And July and August are not over yet," said Joe Heinen, director of member services for Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative, which is based in McLouth.

At 7 p.m. Friday, electric use was 1.4 percent above the previous record, set July 26, 2002. By 6 p.m. Sunday, the amount of electricity the cooperative's 7,500 meters were pulling was about 4 percent above the 2002 amount.

"Serving mainly residential customers, most people are home on the weekends," Heinen said. "Between the temperatures and the humidity, the air-conditioners were really working. They were getting a big workout."

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, and on either side of U.S. Highway 24-40 in eastern Tonganoxie.

Meanwhile, Westar Energy customers have not set any records this year, according to Karla Olsen, senior manager for media relations. Westar Energy provides electric service to about 653,000 customers in the state.

While some area residents were seeking refuge from last week's heat in their air-conditioned homes, others were taking the plunge at Chieftain Pool. Manager Darren Shupe said daily attendance is running, on average, at about 100 swimmers.

was in late June, when more than 200 swimmers walked through the gate.

This summer's heat has taken a toll on area firefighters, who must pull on heavy, hot gear for an already-hot job.

"We carry a lot of bottled water on the truck," said Richard Ogden, fire chief for Reno Township Fire Department. "We have two trucks that have air-conditioning in them, and we try to circulate the guys in and out of the trucks."

So far this year, firefighters have been lucky. Early this spring, Ogden said, a new member of the department got into a little trouble with heat as firefighters battled a persistent grass fire.

"He took out running and he was really into it," the 67-year-old fire chief said. "We had to put him down in the truck for awhile. ... You just have to stop every now and then. We're not made of steel, especially us old geezers."

Obviously, weather affects attendance. But Shupe said vacations and ball teams' schedules also play a role. The most pool customers in one day this year

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