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PUCO asking Valley and all of Ohio to conserve energy

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - These frigid temperatures are making our furnaces work overtime. So to be asked to turn them down seems absurd, but that's exactly what we are all being asked to do, as we approach a record cold night.

It was three-weeks ago when more than 11,000 people in the Mahoning Valley were without power, in some cases due to a cold snap, and an overwhelming increase in demand for natural gas and electricity.

Now, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is urging the entire state to cut back on energy use to lessen the chance we'll be left in the dark.

While First Energy says its' system is designed to withstand the demand, the company admits it's never a bad idea to conserve.

Mark Durbin, is a spokesperson for First Energy, "Normally the system is designed to be very strong, very robust, whether it's five-degrees below zero, or 90-degrees, so it's designed to operate that way. That being said, it's never a bad idea, when it gets so cold like this, to just be judicious in your use of electricity."

The PUCO says the best ways to conserve energy include lowering your thermostat, using major appliances after 9pm, turning off lights and appliances you are not using, and sealing off unheated and unused rooms.

But some who specialize in heating and cooling aren't so sure turning down your thermostat will do anything but make you cold.

Michael Vivo, the owner of M.P. Heating & Air Conditioning out of Austintown says, "My opinion is, you will save a little bit of energy from going from 70 to 60, from that time that the furnace isn't running. But once it reaches 60, it's still going to run the same time for that hour, as if it would if it were 70. So, I don't see where the savings is."

And as for those programmable thermostats, Vivo says when it's this cold it doesn't make sense to program one temperature during the day and another at night because it will take too long to get to your desired temperature.

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