State and University of Illinois officials call for energy conservation

By Jose Zepeda

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Following the power grid failure situation in Texas, the Illinois Commerce Commission is monitoring the state’s power consumption and is warning about the increased usage of power and natural gas.

“Each fall, the ICC holds a winter preparedness policy session to make sure the utilities we regulate have adequate supplies on hand to meet the demands of a harsh winter,” ICC Chairman Carrie Zalewski said in a press release. “Advanced planning has served our state well.”

Illinois prepares for harsh winters by having the state’s gas and electric companies by energy in advance in order to protect consumers from potential price spikes. The pre-bought energy is stored in energy fields until they are needed.

Similarly, the University of Illinois is asking students, staff and faculty living in the Champaign-Urbana area to conserve energy to during these cold days. There is currently an Energy Alert in place until Monday, Feb, 22.

The ICC offers some of the following tips in order to conserve energy:

The University of Illinois Solar Farm. Photo courtesy of Jim Meadows, Illinois Public Media
  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees while awake, lower when at night or when you are away.
  • Seal drafty windows with plastic sheeting and seal it.
  • Allow natural light to come in on sunny days.
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed whenever a fire is not burning.

The University of Illinois Facilities and Services branch suggest the following:

  • When not in use, turn off or unplug the following:
    • Lights
    • Computers
    • Monitors
    • Printers
    • Chargers
    • Appliances
  • Keep windows closed, especially those in conditioned areas.
  • Fume hood ashes when not in use.

“Reducing the university’s energy consumption, especially during this time of peak demand, is critical to effectively managing resources,” Dr. Mohamed Attalla said in a massmail.

According to Attalla, the university receives energy through the Abbott Power Plant. It generates about half of the campus’s electricity needs. The remainder of the power is purchased from the regional power grid.

Jose Zepeda

Jose Zepeda is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is now on his third year with Good Morning Illini, previously serving as director, reporter and crew member. He is also currently a digital intern for WILL, the NPR- and PBS- affiliate in Urbana and vice-president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists University of Illinois chapter. He also has his own podcast with fellow GMI-er Angelle Cortes called Just Chillin’. He brings previous experience as a features intern at The News-Gazette and as a daytime news editor at The Daily Illini. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JoseZepedaTV.