St. George residents asked to cut power use as city issues first ‘orange alert’ of the summer

For illustrative purposes only, homeowners are asked to conserve energy during extremely hot periods by being mindful of how much power they use by avoiding running multiple appliances during peak hours | Photo by Zinkevych/iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The city issued its first “orange alert” of the summer Monday and again on Tuesday as temperatures reached 100-plus degrees.

Rene Fleming, energy and water customer service manager for the city of St. George, shares a review of the Use Less Save More energy conservation program with the St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, June 22, 2023 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The alert is part of a color-coded system designed to alert residents of the need to conserve energy in order to avoid overloading the city’s power grid.

St. George is expected to see a high of 107 degrees Tuesday with it going up to 110 degrees by Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. The high temperatures can put added strain on the city’s energy services, particularly during the peak use hours of 3-7 p.m.

“It’s Southern Utah. It’ll get hot,” Rene Fleming, who serves as the energy and water customer service manager for the city’s Energy Services Department, told the St. George City Council last month while presenting a review of the color-coded advisory system that has green, orange and red levels.

An orange level recommends the following energy-saving measures:

  • Avoid using the oven; try barbecuing instead.
  • Avoid using the dishwasher and laundry machines during peak hours.
  • Avoid opening and closing doors to the outside.

It is hoped that the city can avoid experiencing rolling blackouts and power outages by people observing the advisories. A bonus of doing so, Fleming added, is that power customers will save money as they cut back on use during peak hours.

The system is a part of the Use Less, Save More campaign launched by the city and Dixie Power in May 2021.

Sunday afternoon and evening, some St. George residents experienced power outages related to the heat and high levels of usage.

While the city has had several green days and a handful of orange days since its inception, the only red alert issued by the system thus far was on June 17, 2021, when the temperature topped over 110 degrees.

The overall Use Less, Save More campaign’s three-color advisory system

Green
  • Adjust thermostat two degrees higher than you are comfortable.
  • Leave air vents open.
  • Close the drapes to reduce the amount of heat transfer into your home.
  • Turn off unused electrical equipment when you leave the room, such as TVs and lights.
Orange
  • Avoid using the oven; try barbecuing instead.
  • Avoid using the dishwasher and laundry machines during the peak hours..
  • Avoid opening and closing doors to the outside.
Red
  • Do not use ovens. This is not a day to bake.
  • Set thermostat at 80 degrees or higher.
  • Make sure the pool pump is off.
  • If you have an electric vehicle, make sure it is not recharging.
  • If power is interrupted, avoid opening the refrigerator. Most refrigerators will keep food cool for up to four hours if the door is not opened.

The alerts can be found online and on the St. George Energy Services Department an Dixie Power Facebook pages as the summer progresses.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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