SWEPCO Issues Appeal for THIRD DAY to Conserve Electricity in NW Louisiana Only

You can Follow this Issue at twitter.com/swepconews
SHREVEPORT, La., July 16, 2009 – AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) is asking its customers to please avoid using unnecessary lighting or electric appliances – and to limit use of air conditioning – until further notice today. SWEPCO’s load increased some 50 megawatts (MWs) from Tuesday to Wednesday due to the extreme temperatures, high load demand and no cloud cover over the area.

The request is being made to conserve in Northwest Louisiana only due to increased demand for electricity and significant transmission problems with the electric system in Louisiana. SWEPCO’s 138,000 volt overloaded transmission line in North Shreveport came within 1% of its maximum megawatt capacity late Wednesday afternoon. Construction work was completed over two nights to install four structures for extra clearance on this line. One megawatt can usually provide power to about 500 homes in the summer.

“We thank our customers for their patience and measures to conserve energy this week. At this point, we anticipate being able to meet the demand Thursday. However, the extreme heat conditions, along with our transmission line problem in the North Shreveport area, could change, so we are asking for continued customers’ cooperation,” said Paul Chodak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “We know that cutting back on electrical use, especially air conditioning, can be inconvenient and uncomfortable. But when everyone does something to help out, your combined efforts can help reduce overall demand for electricity and ease this emergency situation.”

SWEPCO is reducing power to certain industrial customers whose agreements with the utility allow curtailments. The company also is reducing power use at its own facilities.

If the situation worsens and demand is about to exceed the available supply of power on its lines, SWEPCO is prepared to implement its emergency load reduction plan. This procedure temporarily interrupts power to parts of the company’s service area to avoid a major “blackout.” SWEPCO would rotate the areas affected by the “controlled outages” so customers are not without service for more than two hours whenever possible. The temporary outages should not affect critical public health and public safety facilities.

“Your assistance by voluntarily reducing your use of electricity – especially during the peak hours between noon and 7 p.m. -- should allow SWEPCO to continue to provide uninterrupted service to its customers,” Chodak said. 

Here are some actions that customers can take to help ease the emergency situation:

  • Set your thermostat at 80 degrees and make similar adjustments to window units
  • Use portable or ceiling fans to circulate air and reduce the amount of air conditioning needed
  • Turn off unnecessary lights
  • Use washers, dryers and ovens later in the day so the heat and humidity they create will put less strain on your air conditioning.

SWEPCO will provide updates through the news media and on the company’s Web site, www.swepco.com.

SWEPCO, a unit of American Electric Power, is based in Shreveport, La., and serves 473,500 customers in three states, including 180,000 in northwest Louisiana.

News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at www.swepco.com.
Scott McCloud, 318-673-3532 (office), 318-469-2293 (cell)
24/7 Media Voice Mail Box: 318-673-3060

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