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Paynesville Press - Sept. 10, 2003

Schools close due to energy demand

The Paynesville Area Public Schools closed early on Monday, Sept. 8, due to the peak energy demands. The local school district participates in a voluntary program with Xcel Energy that gives the school district lower electricity rates if they agree to manage their energy use during peak times. The unseasonably warm weather along with unscheduled maintenance that caused Xcel Energy to temporarily close one power plant prompted the company to ask 15 schools across the state to close, including Paynesville.

Normally, peak energy times occur in extremely hot weather in the summer, which synchronizes well with the school's nine-month schedule, since only a few employees work in the schools during the summer. The Paynesville Area Public Schools were last forced to close school early due to peak energy demands in May 2001. In 12 years in Xcel Energy's voluntary program, the district has had to send students home early three times.

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