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Power companies ask users to conserve electricity

Updated: Tuesday, January 7 2014, 06:05 PM CST
Reported by: Chris Papst

CARLISLE -- Power companies are asking everyone to conserve electricity. The weather is putting a huge strain on the grid and some people have lost power. In weather like this, losing electricity is a scary thought.

But in Cumberland County this morning, that happened to about 1,500 people.

My wife went into panic mode, said Rick Soccio. She was thinking we would have to plan for a couple days.

Around 7:30 this morning, when Soccio was about to open his store, everything suddenly went dark when the electricity went out. Luckily for him, his shop sells stoves. 

We had like six or seven people, it looked like we were at a camp, we were all surrounded around the wood stove trying to get it started. We didn't know what else to do, added Soccio.

It was closer to 8 when we lost power, Brenda Durf said. When I went outside, I think it was negative eight.

Like Soccio, Durf is also lucky. She uses a pellet stove to heat her home, so she could stay warm. Shes just thankful that when her stove broke a few days ago, she got it fixed right away. 

We had an electrician in to check our pellet stove on Thursday right before the big freeze here. Definitely just in time, said Durf. 

Due to weather, electrical grid operator PJM is asking everyone to conserve electricity -- especially from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Its asking people to lower the thermostat, limit usage of major electrical appliances (stoves, dishwashers, and dryers), and turn off lights not in use.  

Warming stations are opening all around our viewing area to help people, some of whom have lost power. The fire chief in Penn Township said he has been with the department for 45 years and he can only remember one other time when it got so cold they had to turn the fire station into a warming station. 

When electricity went out in the Newville area in Cumberland County, Penn Township Volunteer Fire Department opened its doors to anyone stuck out in the cold. It even fired up the fryers and started making fries and chicken. The department has its own generators so when the power did go out they could stay warm and keep their kitchen open. 

"Emergency management people called and wanted to know if we had power at our station and of course we didn't at that time," Bob Kough said. "They wanted to know if we could open our station as a warming center, let people know there was a place in the community to go if they needed to. Were just helping people in the community. That's why were here."Power companies ask users to conserve electricity


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