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Utilities postpone maintenance operations during hot spell

As the heat wave continues to grip much of Wisconsin, power grid operators are suspending routine maintenance to keep as many lines as possible open for increased energy usage.

As the heat wave continues to grip much of Wisconsin, power grid operators are suspending routine maintenance to keep as many lines as possible open for increased energy usage.

Kaya Freiman is a spokeswoman for the American Transmission Company (ATC), which operates nearly 10,000 miles of power lines in the upper Midwest. She says power lines are like an interstate highway, so it's important to keep all lanes open when traffic is high.

"If you were expecting a great amount of traffic for labor day weekend, that probably wouldn't be the best weekend to conduct a lot of road maintenance or close roads or have a lot of detours," she says.

Frieman says system operators won't perform any maintenance on the grid through at least Wednesday (7/20) in order to keep as much power flowing as possible.

A spokesman for Madison Gas and Electric says it's already set one record for electric usage in Dane County this past weekend, and expects to set another today. The company has increased power output by about 60 mega watts. That's like adding 21,000 homes to the system.

Related Topics: WEATHER
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