Cold blast prompts call for energy conservation

2014-01-28T12:00:00Z 2014-01-29T05:19:05Z Cold blast prompts call for energy conservationLauri Harvey Keagle, (219) 852-4311

The bitter cold weather and constantly running furnaces prompted some utility companies Tuesday to encourage customers to conserve energy in other ways.

PJM Interconnection, which operates the ComEd electric grid, urged customers Tuesday to conserve energy in an effort to reduce the strain on the system caused by furnaces running nonstop during the cold weather blast.

In a news release, PJM said demand was expected to peak between 5 and 9 p.m. Tuesday. The company urged customers to set thermostats lower, postpone running major appliances such as dishwashers and clothes dryers and to turn off lights and appliances not in use.

Kathleen Szot, spokeswoman for NIPSCO, said electricity capacity tends to be a concern for the utility company more in the summer months than the winter months. NIPSCO is monitoring the natural gas supply, however, and Szot said there were “no major concerns” Tuesday.

"Fortunately, our system is holding up well," Szot said.

Still, Szot said it is always a good practice to try to conserve energy use, both for the environment and for customers' wallets.

"Furnaces are running harder, which will have an impact on customers' bills," she said.

Szot urged customers to contact NIPSCO to discuss payment assistance programs "at the first sign they are worried about making ends meet," to assure service will not be interrupted.

NIPSCO customers can contact representatives to learn about payment assistance programs by calling (800) 4NIPSCO or online at

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