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Power usage during cold weather

OKALOOSA COUNTY - Space heaters, electric blankets, furnaces...they're all sucking up power. A system overload last night knocked out power to around two-thousand people on Pensacola Beach. Homes and hotels were in the dark, with people using extra blankets trying to stay warm.

Gulf Power crews worked for about nine hours to restore electricity to the area. The cold temperatures led to an all-time record for power use.

Laura Hussey "Even if you're setting your thermostat to a fairly modest temperature like 68, a spokesman from Gulf Power tells me a lot about how much energy is used, depends on the temperature outside"

This icy front yard got a little help from a sprinkler system, but few would argue it's felt pretty miserable out there.

Chris Shonk/FWB "It's been cold"

Getting things warm inside when its cold outside uses a lot of power. A Gulf Power spokesman says it's all about the temperature differential.

If you're cooling your house in summer, say from a 95 degrees outside to 70 inside, your system is working to make up 25 degrees.

But if you're trying to keep it 70 inside when it's 30 outside, that's 40 degrees of difference.

John Evans/FWB "That was very surprising, with the overload of electricity use to us here. Hopefully people here will be cognizant of that"

They could certainly be aware of it when their bills arrive. The same usage that puts a strain on Gulf Power's system can make for an expensive surprise.

Melissa McBride/FWB "We're having to watch it quite a bit, 'cause last month our electric bill was pretty high, and that's not including these frigid temps. So I'm interested and dreading to see what it is next month"

Gulf Power says for every degree you turn it down from 68, you'll save ten percent on your heating costs.

Laura Hussey "Remember if there's an emergency heat setting on your system, it will pull three times the kilowatt hours of regular heat."