Cold strains local power grids

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- These record low temperatures are putting a historic strain on power grids all across our area. However, local power company officials say they are able to keep up with demand and said there are things you can do to help them out along with your wallet.

“We have been generating near record amounts of power for our winter time conditions,” said Lew Middleton of Duke Energy. He said they haven’t seen winter usage numbers like what they’re seeing now in years.

It’s the same story at IPL, which covers Marion county.

“Between December 25 and January 3, IPL system use was up 42 percent over the same period last year,” said Claire Dalton of Indianapolis Power and Light.

And IPL said that’s 31-percent higher than the five year average. Despite the record cold, both companies said they’ve kept up as problems arise.

“Of course extreme cold temperatures…do have an effect and they can cause additional mechanical and electrical stress to our system,” said Dalton, “but we are staffed appropriately to address any issues as quickly and safely as possible.”

Companies said there are some simple tips to keep in mind that not only help your wallet but ease some pressure on the power grid. Experts say during the day, keep blinds and drapes open to let the sunlight warm your house. Then at night, close them to help keep heat in. On top of that, set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature—officials suggest around 68 degrees.

If you need help with your heating bill you can call you utility company for information, or just call 2-1-1.

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