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Ohio Utility Companies Asks Customers to Conserve Energy

COLUMBUS (Ken Hines/Kate Liebers) -- With temperatures expected to fall well below zero on Tuesday, utility company officials asked customers to help conserve energy.

Columbia Gas of Ohio and American Electric Power of Ohio warned customers of the dangers of straining the companies' power grids.

"Using energy efficiently will help ensure that adequate supplies of electricity are available to all," AEP stated in a release.

AEP expected that the demand for electricity would peak on Tuesday, and asked customers to conserve their usage from 6 to 10 a.m. as well as 5 to 9 p.m. that day.

Columbia officials do not anticipate any problems with their services as a result of high usage among central Ohioans, but they are requesting that customers avoid using all their gas-powered appliances -- including dryers, stoves, and water heaters -- at once.

"Customers who reduce their natural gas use this week will do two very important things," Columbia President Jack Partridge said. "They will help ensure that adequate supplies are available for everybody, and they can help manage their heating bills during what is expected to be a period of extremely high natural gas consumption."

Company officials have suggested that customers consider the following tips while riding out freezing temperatures:

  • Set thermostats as low as appropriate to maintain health and comfort.
  • Dress in layers appropriate for the temperature setting.
  • Limit use of natural gas appliances, especially during the early morning hours.
  • Postpone using major electrical appliances, such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
  • Turn off lights or appliances not in use.
  • Cover hot water pipes with an insulating jacket and set water heater temperature between 120 and 130 degrees.
  • Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible, including overhead garage doors.
  • Make sure doors have weather stripping and door sweeps.
  • Install indoor window insulation kits on leaky windows.
  • Seal off unheated, unused rooms.
  • Open south-facing curtains and blinds during the day, and close them at night.
  • Use fireplaces sparingly unless they are specifically equipped for home heating. Most allow warm air to escape through the chimney, so close the damper when not in use. 
  • Take extreme care with space heaters. Make sure they are placed away from combustible materials and, if necessary, properly vented to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  • Remove snow and ice from gas meters.

Columbia Gas customers who experience serious problems with their service can report the issue by calling 1-800-344-4077.

AEP Ohio customers who experience an outage should call 1-800-672-2231 or click here to report a problem.
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