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Published: Thursday, 8/21/2003

Cut down energy use, utility says

Warning that rolling blackouts could be necessary if demand peaks during hot weather, FirstEnergy yesterday urged all its customers to “make every effort possible” to reduce electricity consumption.

Generation capacity remains reduced in the wake of the widespread power-grid failure last week that forced power plants throughout FirstEnergy's northern Ohio system to shut down.

FirstEnergy, whose Toledo Edison subsidiary serves a large part of northwest Ohio, said it already has reduced nonessential power consumption and notified industrial and commercial customers with interruptible contracts that their service may be interrupted.

The utility urged customers to use fans in place of air conditioners wherever possible, and otherwise to set conditioner thermostats at the highest comfortable temperature.

Other conservation measures it suggested include avoiding use of major electric appliances, especially during the daytime; turning off unnecessary lights, and refraining from using computers unnecessarily.

Rolling blackouts would likely be required in the Cleveland area if conservation is insufficient, the utility said, but other areas have not been ruled out. Circuits would be shut down for about two hours at a time.

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