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Record Heat Is Taxing For People, Machines

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4)– As record-breaking temperatures descend on the Denver metro area Tuesday, people may be using more power than normal.

Although Xcel Energy says it’s not mandatory for customers to conserve power, it’s always a good idea. The company also estimates the usage will get close to the record.

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Xcel told CBS4 that they estimate an average of about 6300 megawatts per hour on Tuesday. The record for the Denver metro area is 6911 megawatts per hour. A normal summer day is between 5000 to 6000 per hour.

Xcel Energy does have extra crews on hand in case there are power outages.

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Heating and cooling companies are inundated with repair calls and the wait for some is a couple of weeks.

“Over the weekend we fielded over 200 calls,” Doug Wyatt, co-owner of Summit Heating & Cooling, told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “Business is booming.”

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But that boom is hard to keep up with as several hundred customers need their air conditioners fixed or replaced, and companies have limited crews.

“We’re trying to get to them,” Wyatt said. “If we can’t get to them the next day or within three days, that’s not enough for some who have small children. We’re actually referring out some of them to our competitors who may be able to get to them sooner. Likewise, we’ve had other folks in town referring their business to us.”

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Wyatt said most of their service technicians are working 12 hours a day, seven days a week just trying to keep up with the calls.

“One of the common problems is folks have not been changing their air filters,” Wyatt said. “So, what happens is, their filter gets dirty and without the proper amount of air flow, the conditioner begins to freeze up.”

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Technicians recommend changing the air filter before calling for a repair crew, which could save money.

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Other ways to save money include adjusting your home’s thermostat. Xcel says raising your thermostat from 72 degrees to 78 degrees for air conditioning can save homeowners about $100 a month.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 This Morning over the weekend and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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