Updated Wed, Sep 11, 2013 2:47 pm
Ohio University officials are asking faculty, staff and students to cut back on energy usage from 1:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday to help ease a high demand on the Southern Ohio electrical grid.
The university is doing this as part of a “Demand Response program with Energy Connect, a nationwide company that will pay the university for the ability to reduce power during the summer,” according to Stephen T. Golding, vice president for finance and administration.
He noted that the electrical grid for southern Ohio is now in an emergency due to three days of extreme heat and a request has been made to reduce the electrical drain.
“There is currently a high demand on the Southern Ohio regional electric grid that will require a reduction in usage for several hours,” Mike Gebeke, executive director of facilities management, said in an email to staff. “The ability to reduce power will determine the amount of reimbursement to the university and could garner over $47,000.”
“In addition, there is an extra incentive of $62,000 to meet the reduction that has been offered,” Golding added. “These dollars will help the University meet budget shortages in the next year.”
Gebeke, however, said the university has incentives to cut back power beyond the possibility of financial gain.
“The program is an opportunity for the University to develop techniques to distribute its electric load. Since power plants must be built to meet peak electricity demand, decreasing our peak through better distribution ultimately avoids construction of additional power plants in the region.”
Facilities Management will cut back HVAC settings on campus during the critical hours.
“We will not impact research facilities, but offices and general public areas may be warmer than normal during the impacted time,” Golding said. “Campus is expected to be restored to normal this evening and should be up and running normally by morning when you return to campus.”
University officials are asking the university community to do the following:
• Shut down and unplug all computers that are not in use.
• Operate laptops on battery power.
• Plan print runs at another time of day and shut down and unplug all copy machines.
• Unplug fax machines, refrigerators, coffee pots, space heaters and additional appliances.
• Open the blinds and shut off all unnecessary lights.
• Turn off window air-conditioning units.
• Adjust thermostat to a higher temperature.
• Unplug all unnecessary appliances and chargers.
At 2 p.m. the heat index in Athens is 92 according to weather.com. The temperature is supposed to hit over 90 later today.