Electric companies in Florida are asking customers to conserve energy – after Hurricane Katrina disrupted access to one of their primary sources of fuel…natural gas. Rigs in the Gulf of Mexico – and their connections to land – were severely damaged by the massive storm. Florida Power & Light – the state’s largest electric utility – generates more than 35-percent of its electricity from natural gas. On Monday, FPL resorted to a rarely-used conservation tool—taking more than 500 commercial customers offline from 2 to 8 pm. That included more than 10 schools in Charlotte County… but no classes were disrupted. Company spokesman - Grover Whidden - says this isn’t just about FP & L -.
“So if we have problems even with part of the system it has the potential to affect other companies. They were concerned enough that customers be asked to implement energy conservation on a voluntary basis.”
Whidden says the conservation measures are only precautionary – but that the days and weeks ahead will better reveal exactly how serious the supply problems are. FPL has switched many of its “dual use” plants over to oil. It’s also ratcheting up production at coal and nuclear facilities.
For now, people are asked to use electricity wisely…that includes setting thermostats higher - and turning off non-essential devices.
Thursday, 01 September 2005 01:00