Large retailer in Alcoa takes steps to reduce energy usage

Large retailer in Alcoa takes steps to reduce energy usage in cold snap

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When you walk into the Walmart in Alcoa, you might not notice the difference right away. But if you look closely, you'll see that more than half the lights are off. When you walk into the Walmart in Alcoa, you might not notice the difference right away. But if you look closely, you'll see that more than half the lights are off.
All the freezer cases are usually set to defrost occasionally, which is also a big power drain. That was put on hold until the weather outside stabilizes. All the freezer cases are usually set to defrost occasionally, which is also a big power drain. That was put on hold until the weather outside stabilizes.
"When we hear what times we need to reduce power, we'll call the home office and let them know, and they'll adjust our defrost cycles so we don't draw on more energy than we need," said shift manager Curt Coates. "When we hear what times we need to reduce power, we'll call the home office and let them know, and they'll adjust our defrost cycles so we don't draw on more energy than we need," said shift manager Curt Coates.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - When the temperature drops, the need for heat rises, which can sometimes cause a power outage. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority had asked all electric customers to reduce their use during peak hours, including Thursday night and Friday morning. The request was lifted late Friday morning.

It was intended for no only homeowners, but businesses as well, so 6 News went to see how one retail giant was managing.   

When you walk into the Walmart in Alcoa, you might not notice the difference right away.
But if you look closely, you'll see that more than half the lights are off.

"We have designated lights that we turn out in the store. One to let the customers still be able to shop and have the lighting they need, but it reduces it dramatically and helps the city reduce the power that we use," said shift manager Curt Coates.

All the freezer cases are usually set to defrost occasionally, which is also a big power drain. That was put on hold until the weather outside stabilizes.

"When we hear what times we need to reduce power, we'll call the home office and let them know, and they'll adjust our defrost cycles so we don't draw on more energy than we need," said Coates.

It's part of a plan the City of Alcoa Electric Department asks big businesses to put in place for frigid temperatures that stress their system.

Other major power users in Alcoa include McGhee Tyson Airport, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base and Clayton Homes.

"Our customers are very cooperative. We've met with them over the years. They have plans where they can cut out non-essential uses, but keep their operations going," said Eddie Tramel with the Alcoa Electric Department.

Alcoa Electric did have some issues during the last cold snap a few weeks ago. A substation became overloaded and crashed, leaving 7,000 customers without power for several hours.

"We think we have remedied most of those, and we have not had that problem to recur.
It's something no one wants to see happen again," said Tramel.

"I mean, I live in the community and you don't want the power going out in the community at all, so if we can save a little bit here, it's just good for everybody," said Coates.

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