Recent Cold Weather Creates Record Energy Use

PECO is urging area residents to conserve energy, announcing Monday that the utility is setting records for the use of natural gas.

“Last week’s bitterly cold temperatures caused customer demand for natural gas to soar to record-breaking levels,” PECO officials said.

On Feb. 15, customer demand for natural gas totaled 777,456 thousand cubic feet, and demand Thursday reached 766,365, which surpassed the previous all-time winter daily total of 759,660 set during the polar vortex on Jan. 7, 2014, according to the utility.

“Our customers depend on us to provide the energy they need, when they need it most, especially during times of extreme conditions,” said Craig Adams, PECO president and CEO. “Our electric and natural gas systems continue to perform well and our ongoing investments in our system help maintain this reliable performance.”

Already, February is shaping up to be one of the top five coldest on record in the Philadelphia area, says the National Weather Service. And March will come in like a polar bear, as the frosty pattern isn’t expected to change for at least the next two weeks.

After a low that’s expected to dip to 5 degrees in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning — the record low is 2 degrees set in 1889 — Tuesday’s high won’t get out of the 20s. But winds will be light so wind chills won’t be a factor.

In Allentown, the record low of 4 degrees set in 1948 may be broken early as temperatures were expected to drop as low as 5 below zero, said Jim Bunker, observation program leader at the National Weather Service’s office in Westampton, New Jersey. The high Tuesday won’t leave the teens in the Lehigh Valley.

Bunker said the cold weather isn’t expected to lift “at least through the first week of March unfortunately.”

During the cold, PECO urges residents to take the following measures to save money and to ensure the safe use of home heating systems:

  • Do not cover heating ducts with drapes or furniture that can block the airflow and possibly cause a fire
  • Keep heating vents clean with a vacuum or broom
  • Check for drafts around windows and doors, and seal up any openings with weather stripping or even a rolled-up blanket. A drafty house lets warm air escape and is much more costly to keep warm
  • Take advantage of natural sunlight. Open curtains and drapes during the day to let the sun warm your home and close them at night for insulation
  • Keep the fireplace damper closed tightly when not in use
  • Use ceiling fans so the warm air that has risen can be redistributed around the room
  • Close off unoccupied rooms and regulate individual room temperatures by adjusting the registers. Adjust room registers so warm air flows across the floor and rises naturally
  • Keep your thermostat set at a constant, comfortable level, usually 68 to 70 degrees
  • Remember to turn off unnecessary lights and other electronics

To find more ways to save energy and money visit www.peco.com/SmartIdeas

Article Credit: Peg Quann Staff Writer, The Intellingencer