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Hurricane Katrina

Two utilities ask customers to cut back electricity usage

Much of Florida's electricity is dependent on natural gas supplies, which have been affected by the storm damage.

By Times Staff Writer
Published September 1, 2005

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Damage attributed to Hurricane Katrina has affected the supply of natural gas, which is used to generate much of Florida's electricity. As a result, the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council's state capacity emergency coordinator has issued an appeal to all users of electricity in the state to conserve as much energy as possible.

Elsewhere in the United States, power supply interruptions aren't likely a problem because most other states rely much less on Gulf of Mexico-produced gas. But the crunch is being felt nonetheless as natural gas prices shoot up because of the squeeze in supply.

The development prompted Sumter Electric Cooperative Inc. (SECO) and the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative on Wednesday to ask customers to conserve energy until fuel shortages are resolved.

Consumers are asked to reduce usage specifically from late afternoon through early evening. Cutting back on air conditioning and hot water - as well as turning off all nonessential lighting and pool pumps - will help.

For energy-saving tips, visit SECO's Web site click on the Energy Information link, then Energy Saving Tips at the bottom of the page.

Nineteen people in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's North Central region office have traveled to Biloxi, Miss., to help relief efforts, commission spokeswoman Karen Parker said.

Three Citrus residents are among those providing support in Mississippi.

Capt. John Burton, Lt. John Jones and Officer Darryl Thomason left Sunday for the area, the commission said. The officers are helping in search-and-rescue operations and providing food and ice for residents.

This is the first time commission officers have been sent to another state to help in emergency relief, an agency news release said.

Citrus Sheriff's Lt. Bob Wesch and two deputies will be going to Hancock County, Miss., to provide relief for an emergency management team that's already in that county, said sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney.

Tierney said the group plans to go up Monday or Tuesday. Tierney also expects the SMART team, or the Sheriff's Mutual Aid Response Team, which is comprised of 10 deputies, will be asked to provide relief soon.

[Last modified September 1, 2005, 00:57:17]

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