St. George launches program to help residents conserve electricity, avoid blackouts

With summer comes high temperatures, wildfires and an increased demand for power.

(Screenshot via the city of St. George) Power transmission lines cut through Utah. The city of St. George and the area's energy service, Dixie Power, are urging residents to conserve electricity this summer to lower the risk of rolling blackouts.

St. George and Dixie Power, the area’s electricity provider, are trying to avoid rolling blackouts this summer — and they’re soliciting residents’ help to do so.

A new campaign called “Use Less, Save More” uses a color-coding system to alert residents when the risk of a blackout is higher — and what residents can do to help prevent it.

Summer is the season with the highest demand for power, according to an informational video on St. George’s website, and high temperatures and wildfires put energy availability at risk.

“We’re planning for higher than expected temperatures,” St. George Energy Services Director Laurie Mangum said in the video, which “puts more strain on our system.” And wildfires are “a very serious threat” that could take out transmission lines that bring power to the area, she added.

So, to help lower the risk of power outages, the city is sharing energy-saving tips on a color-coded system based on how high the risk of a blackout is. Officials are asking residents to take these actions on weekdays when energy consumption is the highest, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

On green days, the city and Dixie Power recommend the following:

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher.

  • Use a fan to help keep your home cool.

  • Close your curtains to keep the sun out, especially on south- and west-facing windows.

Here’s how to save energy on orange days:

  • Follow the green day guidelines.

  • Avoid using large appliances, like your oven, dishwasher, or washing machine and dryer.

  • Keep your doors and windows closed.

And on red days, the most severe, here’s what the city and power company recommend:

  • Follow the green and orange day guidelines.

  • Don’t use large appliances at all.

  • Set your thermostat to 80 degrees or higher.

  • Turn off your pool pump.

  • Avoid charging electric vehicles.

“Working together, with help from our customers, we hope to manage the summer peak as people have a demand for electricity and hopefully then avoid any interruption in service,” Dixie Power COO Colin Jack says in the informational video.

In the case that there is a blackout, here’s what to do:

  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. Most fridges can keep food cool for up to four hours, as long as you aren’t opening and closing the door.

  • Don’t open your doors to the outside. Keep the heat out.

Visit St. George’s website sgcity.org to see which level of energy conservation the city is recommending for the day.