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Temperature dip takes toll on power grid

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – With millions of people cranking up the heat in their homes, the amount of electricity pulled from the grid has spiked.

Andy Schonert, the media relations advisory for Miso Energy, said, “The cold certainly increases the amount of power used and we are seeing that last night and this morning.”

Miso manages the electricity grid in 15 states, including Indiana.

“You can consider us the air traffic controllers of the electric grid, controlling where power needs to get,” said Schonert

This week power usage is up by 30 percent compared to last week, but so far the grid is holding up.

Schonert explained, “Right now how we operate, we are still well within the margin of having a good cushion and plenty of people to call on if we need it.”

Last January there was a record amount of electricity used in Indiana and the extreme weather also caused tens of thousands of power outages.

Brandi Davis-Handy, a spokesperson for Indianapolis Power and Light, told 24-Hour News 8, “Nothing compared to last year, at the height when we had the last winter storm that came through we had about 65,000 without power, I think at the max this week last night we had an incident with about 1,000 customers without power.”

Although the impact this year, so far, has been minimal they are extra prepared just in case.

“We are fully staffed, we brought in extra staff,” said Davis-Handy.

There may be enough power to go around, but it comes at a cost and if you’re cranking the heat, expect to see a bigger bill.

“For those who are seniors or maybe on a fixed income and really are challenged in the next couple of months in terms of not having the finances to pay their bill, there are a number of programs they can call to get information on where to go and apply for energy assistance,” said Davis-Handy.

While the cold has increased power usage, the wind has increased power creation.

Tuesday, Miso hit the record for the amount of wind power created in one day. It was enough to power nine million homes.