DES MOINES — As temperatures spike, so can electric demand. MidAmerican Energy Company has issued a peak alert for today and is asking customers to take five steps to conserve energy from 2 until 7 p.m.
Peak alerts are issued when temperatures hit the mid-to-high-90s and electricity use is expected to be at or near maximum levels.
MidAmerican Energy has sufficient generating capacity to meet this summer’s expected maximum, or peak demand, plus a reserve margin. However, during a peak alert, customers are asked to take simple steps to lower their electricity usage, which can help to reduce the potential for higher costs.
Customers are notified of peak alerts through radio announcements, news releases and the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages. MidAmerican Energy issues peak alerts only on weekdays, generally between June and September.
When a peak alert is issued, customers can implement these five steps to help reduce peak usage:
1. Wait till sundown: Limit clothes drying, baking and other heat-producing work with appliances to the morning or after 7 p.m.
2. Dial up: Setting your thermostat a few degrees higher can make a big difference — reducing electrical usage 3 to 5 percent for each degree. A setting of 78 degrees will keep you comfortable when it is more than 90 degrees outside. If you are not at home during the day, close the house and turn off the air conditioner.
3. Use fans: Fans use less energy than air conditioners and can boost the comfort from an air conditioner, increasing its efficiency. Use ceiling and portable fans to better circulate cool air throughout your home. Reverse the normal direction of ceiling fans to pull cool air up from the floor. Ventilate your attic with a thermostatically controlled fan.
4. Trim foliage outside: Keep your air conditioner unit clear of grass, weeds and shrubs to allow air to flow over its cooling coils. This will keep your air conditioner unit from working too hard.
5. Block sun: Close drapes, particularly those on west and south windows, to shut out direct sunlight.