Weather Forecast


Energy conservation advisories issued by Willmar Municipal Utilities, Kandiyohi Power Cooperative

WILLMAR -- Willmar Municipal Utilities and Kandiyohi Power Cooperative of Spicer on Monday issued energy conservation advisories that continue this week as hot weather is expected to increase electrical demand and power costs.

The utility and co-op said power supplies are adequate but electricity demand and power prices are expected to be high during the period.

The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures of 93 today, 95 Wednesday and 94 Thursday for the Willmar area.

"We appreciate your help in conserving by simply turning off unneeded lights and appliances, and delaying washing dishes and clothes,'' the utility and co-op said in a joint announcement.

The announcement asked customers to set their air conditioner a few degrees higher if they are not enrolled in load share or energy management programs.

Diane Maurice, manager of marketing and customer service at Kandiyohi Power Cooperative, said the cooperative has not asked any businesses to change their hours to save power.

"The economic times and closing of businesses have freed power capacity to meet the needs of hot days like today,'' Maurice said Monday.

Maurice said she does not foresee any problems related to lack of power due to the heat, but advises people to shut down and turn off anything they're not using.

"There is an adequate amount of power, but this will help control costs,'' she said.

In an energy alert issued Monday afternoon, Municipal Utilities Power Supply Broker Chris Carlson said the utility's load share and interruptible programs were initiated for peak load hours estimated between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The alert was issued for the remainder of the week, not including the 4th of July holiday.

Carlson said local radio stations will broadcast an advisory to remind listeners to reduce their energy use.

Under load share, more than 2,500 residential customers with central air conditioning agree to have the utility turn off their air conditioners for certain periods of time during peak periods.

The shutoffs occur when the utility sends a radio signal to a control box that's connected to air conditioners at participating customers. One-quarter of all the central air conditioners on the load share system are turned off for 7½ minutes in a 30-minute period at any given time while the program is running.

"Load share is in effect whenever there is greater demand to help reduce the demand,'' said Wesley Hompe, utility interim co-manager. "Once we get the signal from our power scheduler that load share should be started, we enter into it generally between 11 a.m. and 5 or 6 p.m., depending on what the requirements of our power scheduler are.''

Also, the utility works with larger customers that agree to have their power interrupted at peak times. These customers are able to maintain operations with their own generation units.

In addition, the utility can generate power with its leased diesel units.

Hompe said the utility has capacity scheduled and reserved on the market in anticipation of a new peak.

"We do that every summer as part of our planning process,'' he said. "What we're trying to do is reduce how much that peak goes up but we do have reserves available to us to handle it.''

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150