Cold weather prompts energy shortage concerns - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Cold weather prompts energy shortage concerns

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - As a winter storm brought cold temperatures and mountain snow to San Diego County Saturday, San Diego Gas & Electric called on its customers to conserve energy -- both from natural gas and electricity -- to ensure supplies will last.

"Extremely cold weather is forecasted for the western portion of the U.S. this weekend, and as a result, natural gas supplies throughout Southern California are limited," SDG&E officials said in a statement.

Local power plants are fueled by natural gas, and using less electricity lessens the impact on the natural gas supply, according to the utility.

Utility officials recommended customers lower furnace thermostats three to five degrees, health permitting; use a programmable thermostat to help automatically regulate temperatures; keep heating systems tuned up by cleaning and replacing filters and clearing out heating vents and furnace registers; caulk and weather strip drafty windows and doors; keep shades open during the day and close them at night; leave pools and spas unheated; and to turn off unnecessary lights and avoid using major appliances.

SDG&E also warned customers not to use their oven, stoves or barbecue grills to heat their homes because they could give off carbon monoxide. Customers should install a carbon monoxide and regularly change the batteries.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include nausea, headaches, drowsiness, confusion and flu-like symptoms. Utility officials said 911 should be called immediately if carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected.

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