Heat, Drought Stressing Resources: Citizens Asked to Conserver Water, Electricity

SOUTHERN MARYLAND (Aug. 8, 2007) - Brutal heat and humidity continues to pound southern Maryland this week. This comes on the heels of a summer-long drought. The situation is so serious that county governments have executed their emergency plans to provide needy senior citizens shelter from the heat.

On Monday Charles County Commissioners requested that residents voluntarily restrict their outdoor water use due to extended drought conditions that the region has been experiencing. They added that if the current precipitation and usage trends continue, mandatory restrictions may be possible. St. Mary's County already had several areas, which are served by MetCom, under mandatory water restrictions.

Today, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) asked all customers to curtail their energy usage. SMECO says they made the announcement at the request of the PJM Interconnection power pool, which manages energy for the mid-Atlantic area. While the power pool expects to have adequate supplies of electricity today, it issued the request as a precaution, say SMECO officials.

SMECO requested that customers refrain from using nonessential lighting and heavy equipment, large motors, and appliances such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, and ovens. Cycling pool pumps off during the day and raising air conditioner thermostats to the highest comfortable level will also help to conserve energy.

While the temperature remains high, SMECO is asking its members to do what they can to limit their use of power. In addition, during the time of curtailment, SMECO reminded customers to save computer information frequently.

SMECO says they are also working to reduce demand by curtailing usage of non-essential lighting and equipment at its facilities.

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