University Shuts Down Buildings To Reduce Power Demand

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WILKES-BARRE – One college campus in Luzerne County was one of hundreds of businesses and intuitions that voluntarily turned off power at buildings to reduce the demand on the power grid during the heat wave.

Vicki Mayk told Newswatch 16 that Wilkes-University was contacted for the first time in its five-year voluntary partnership with PPL Electric Utilities, to turn off power at non-essential buildings.

“In times of extreme weather, such as the hot spell we`re having right now, we would be asked to curtail our energy use when the demand on the grid is really high,” said Mayk. "It’s to ensure that places like hospitals and fire departments and nursing homes don`t have to curtail their use and that they have the energy they need.”

Wilkes University student Gerry DuBoice said it was a smart idea to shut off lights, computers and air conditioners in buildings that weren’t being used during the summer session.

"I think it makes a lot of sense because there was only one other student in myself in there, plus a couple of workers. They have all that (power) generated just for a couple of students,” said DuBoice.

PJM Interconnection told Newswatch 16 that hundreds of businesses and institutions in the PPL area are signed up for the voluntary power conservation program.

The regional power grid operator said the voluntary reduction during peak hours of the heat wave reduces the electricity demand by 680 megawatts, about the same amount of energy that one midsize power plant produces.

Wilkes-University said classes and officers will reopen on schedule Friday morning, but that the program may be activated again Friday if the power grid is taxed by the increased demand during the heat wave.