Electricity load reduction test a success

University Park, Pa. -- Last week, employees and students across Penn State's University Park campus were asked to simultaneously turn off all unnecessary electrical devices for one hour as a part of a regional electricity load reduction test. The test was a success -- the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) recorded an average reduction in electricity usage of 10 percent (3,700 kw). The success was attributed to the many employees and students who cooperated by turning off unnecessary equipment and to OPP workers who made system-wide adjustments behind the scenes. The peak reduction for the hour was an impressive 15 percent (5000 kw) at 4 p.m.

This test demonstrated that Penn State has the capability to reduce its electricity load when called upon during national or regional power emergencies. All University employees and students at University Park were requested to turn off unnecessary lighting, office equipment, coffee pots, dehumidifiers, and air conditioning under their individual control. All safety lighting and equipment was exempt and remained on throughout the test. This test was part of a regional program designed to protect the electrical distribution grid and provide service for critical needs. On campus this means that critical research projects are more likely to continue uninterrupted. Any future notification(s) this year will be for actual events.

The test is now over, but employees and students can still make a difference by always turning off unnecessary electrical devices. This will help reduce pollution and keep Penn State economically efficient.

To reduce your individual electricity use, be sure to: shut off all office equipment and lights that are unneeded, including computers, monitors, printers, copiers, coffee makers, and task lighting. Unplug iPods, digital cameras, and cell phone chargers when they're not in use. Reduce water usage since water is pumped into our storage tanks with electricity. Keep exterior doors closed in air conditioned buildings - make sure operable windows are closed, too. Personal space heaters should not be used to compensate for excessive air conditioning. Air conditioning problems should be reported to Physical Plant. Remember that personal portable space heaters are NOT permitted in University buildings unless provided by OPP for extraordinary circumstances.

Visit http://www.takecharge.psu.edu/ways.shtml for more information.

The University thanks the entire campus community for participating and making this test a success. The Office of Physical Plant received very helpful feedback during the test. To make further suggestions for improvements contact Mike Prinkey at (814) 863-4091 or via e-mail at mip103@psu.edu, or Paul Ruskin at (814) 863-9620 or via e-mail at pdr2@psu.edu.

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Last Updated June 30, 2009