Wisconsin Public Service institutes load shedding programs

With electric use at record levels Tuesday, Wisconsin Public Service Corp., said it instituted load shedding programs that affected industrial and residential consumers. At 1 p.m. the demand reached 2,117 Mw, and for the hour ending at 2 p.m., electric demand peaked at 2,174 Mw. The previous record for electric demand was 2,074 Mw set July 9.

Jul 31st, 2001


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 31 -- With electric use at record levels Tuesday, Wisconsin Public Service Corp., said it instituted load shedding programs that affected industrial and residential consumers.

At 1:30 p.m. EDT, the Green Bay utility holding company said it began cycling central air conditioners and electric water heaters belonging to the 22,500 residential customers enrolled in the program. These customers agree to let the utility turn off or cycle their appliances in return for credits on their monthly bills.

Plans were to control the appliances for 1 hr, but the company said that could be extended if conditions warrant. In a new internet-based program, Public Service also arranged to pay some large industrial customers to reduce their consumption at noon, allowing the utility to avoid operating more expensive electricity generators.

In addition, wholesale customers began paying higher prices around noon today and some interruptible customers will be asked to pay higher prices or reduce electric demand later today, the company said. Interruptible customers receive discounted rates during periods of average use in exchange for paying higher prices or reducing use during peak periods.

For the second time this month, hot temperatures and high humidity levels drove Wisconsin Public Service customers to use electricity at record levels Tuesday afternoon beginning at noon. For the hour ending at 12 p.m., average electric demand reached a new high of 2,110 Mw.

At 1 p.m. the demand reached 2,117 Mw, and for the hour ending at 2 p.m., electric demand peaked at 2,174 Mw. The previous record for electric demand was 2,074 Mw set July 9. Public Service said it was able to supply customers with record levels of electricity through its own generation and purchased power. "We're buying an awful lot of electricity right now," said Don Carlson, public service manager. "And we were able to buy it at good prices for most of the day so far.

"Because prices continue to rise, however, we've begun to take steps to pass along higher prices to some commercial and industrial customers. We have also started actions that will keep the demand from rising too much further."

Barring power plant or transmission line problems, Carlson said the company shouldn't have any problem serving regular customers, but he predicted prices could continue to rise for interruptible customers

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