Because of hot, humid weather expected this week, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is asking all customer-members to curtail their energy usage. SMECO is making this 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.

Customers should 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.

More specific ways to help curtail energy use are to:

o use fans to supplement air conditioning;
o use a microwave oven or outside grill for cooking;
o close shades, blinds, or drapes to keep out the hot rays of the sun;
o make sure that furniture does not obstruct the air conditioning vents; and,
o position heat-producing appliances, such as televisions or lamps, away from the thermostat.

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 reminds customers to save computer information frequently.

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

SMECO is a customer-owned electric cooperative providing electricity to over 142,000 services in southern Prince George’s County, and in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, and all but the northeast portion of Calvert County.  Co-ops are distinctly different from investor-owned utilities because co-ops are owned by their customers, and these members vote for men and women who sit on the Board of Directors.  As one of over 600 Touchstone Energy Co-ops, SMECO promotes values that are important to its customer-members: Accountability, Integrity, Innovation, and Commitment to Community.

Co-ops also issue capital credits to their members.  What are capital credits?  They are the member’s share of the co-op’s margins, based on how much electricity the member purchased and the rate at which the account was billed.  SMECO’s margins—revenue less expenses—are used as working capital for new construction and system improvements.  Each year, SMECO determines what percentage of the capital credits can be distributed to the members.  Capital credits are then issued by check or credited to the member’s electric bill.