Snow Forces City To Conserve

<p>An avalanche decimates an Alaskan city's energy infrastructure, leading residents to craft creative ways to conserve energy and lower their utility bills.</p>
June 18, 2008, 8am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"On April 16, all lines connecting Juneau to the Snettisham hydroelectric power plant were destroyed, leaving the city with two options: lose a lot of green or go green.

In efforts to lower costs and prevent future global-warming triggered disasters, Juneau residents went far beyond turning off running water while brushing their teeth.

At the Willis household, the energy-saving list grew to be quite long. Electricity conserving tasks included: unplugging the microwave after use (because of the digital clock), no baking, eating cold cereal instead of hot, unplugging the TV and its cable box nightly, replacing bulbs with compact fluorescent ones, turning off lights and power strips, and not using the electric garage door opener.

With one of the biggest energy-consuming appliances being the hot water heater, residents began washing their clothes in cold water and hanging them to dry outside.

Because of the quick turnaround in fixing the electricity lines, the highest diesel rate will only be in effect for one month. And what about those who can't afford it? The city government stepped in and allocated $3 million in funds to assist low-income households, needy businesses, and non-for-profits pay their bills."

Thanks to Larry Schooler

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Published on Thursday, June 12, 2008 in The Next American City
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