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      Could black-out of 2003 happen again?

      Northwest Ohio - High temps with stifling humidity means that everyone's air conditioners are getting a workout, however energy companies are urging the public not to get carried away.

      "We do everything that we can to try to reduce our peak load during these peak periods like the middle of the summer," says George Walton, President/CEO of Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative Inc.

      Hancock-Wood Electric has issued a peak demand alert. They are asking their almost 13,000 members to help out by turning lights off, not washing [clothes] during certain times of the day.

      The peak time in their area is between 2 and 6P.M.

      If that peak limit is exceeded, the risk of a black-out, like the one that crippled the Eastern half of the US in 2003, is increased.

      Many companies, including WNWO, power their facilities by generator on days that are excessively hot in an effort to prevent an event like the black-out happening again.

      But since 2003, the load has gotten bigger due to an increase in the number of air conditioners in the public, and all the new electronics that consume energy. So, it's made the peak grow over the years.

      And while one light in your home won't do much alone, you must think of energy saving as a team effort.

      What if 10,000 or 100,000 homes shut off one light? Or if those homes lowered their thermostat by just two or three degrees.

      "That's gonna make a substantial savings and a substantial reduction in peak usage for the membership," says Walton. However he says the "key" is getting every member to participate.

      For extra savings and incentives, there is an thermostat available for your home that can be controlled by the power company. That item is optional.

      "Walton explains, "Maybe for 30 minutes we'll shut off a group of them. Then we'll bring their air conditioners back on, for example, and shut off another block of them."

      So just by going around your house or business, and shutting off all the lights and equipment you aren't using, you'll be helping to prevent a potential black-out while saving yourself money.