Conserving Electricity in the Heat Wave

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AKRON-- FirstEnergy Corporation spokesman Mark Durbin says consecutive days with temperatures in the 90s this week have placed a stress on their system, which the company has been monitoring very closely.

There have been no blackouts across the area served by the company due to the heat.

But Durbin says there have been sporatic interruptions from blown transformers which crews have been able to repair quickly.

With the high demand for electricity, however, FirstEnergy has done something this week the company has not had to do in several years.

35 of its customers, all massive consumers of electricity, have contracts with FirstEnergy called "interruptable contracts."

Those contracts give the customers a favorable rate on their electricity, but they also allow FirstEnergy to shut off that customer's power with only two hours notice to help conserve energy across the grid on days when the demand is extremely high.

One of those companies is Charter Steel on 49th street in Cuyahoga Heights.

Durbin says the customer can then make other arrangements to get their electricity, or opt to purchase their electricity at a market rate, which is much more expensive on days when the temperatures are in the 90s.

So far this week, FirstEnergy has exercised its option on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Across the area many people are less concerned about conserving electricity than staying comfortable.

"I spend extra money. I keep the air conditioning on. It doesn't stay on all year but in the summertime like this, it's worth it," said Tremaine Williams of Cleveland.

Others, Like Elaine Moore of Akron, believe in conserving electricity.

"There's no sense in it being on if im not home," said Moore.