Dress extra warm for school in Pasco: The power might be out
With temperatures expected to plunge into the 20s, the heaters likely will blast overnight and into the morning.
If there's too much demand for power, 13 Pasco County schools could find themselves in the dark and cold when classes begin.
It happened last January -- the first time in two decades -- and now it's possible it could happen again. Superintendent Heather Fiorentino had principals at the 13 schools send phone recordings to all students' homes telling them to dress in layers, as the power might be interrupted on Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
"I have been in contact with our utility providers," Fiorentino said in an e-mail to the principals. "They have assured me that they are taking all precautions to maintain service during high-demand periods; however, schools participating in the the Progress Energy Interruptible Service Program must prepare to experience service disruptions."
The schools are Chasco Elementary, Chasco Middle, Cotee River Elementary, Denham Oaks Elementary, Marchman Education Center, Gulf High, Pasco High, Pine View Elementary, Pine View Middle, Ridgewood High, Seven Springs Middle, Mitchell High and Zephyrhills High.
Suzanne Grant, spokeswoman for Progress Energy, said the likelihood of cutting the power is low. The current cold snap is expected to last just a few days, unlike the protracted one of last January, she said. "So we don't anticipate we will have a need to tap into our interruptible service providers at this time," she said.
Still, Fiorentino said it was best to be prepared, just in case.
The Pasco School Board reviewed its participation in the interruptible power program earlier this year and chose to continue in it, saying the $365,000 annual savings outweighed the few times students and employees are inconvenienced by chilly classrooms. Groups that choose to participate agree to have their power cut at times of peak use in order to avoid wider rolling brownouts of service.
(Times file photo, January 2010 power outage at Ridgewood High)