Electrical power throughout New England will be reduced 5 per cent from 4 to 8 p.m. daily beginning today, a spokesman for the New England Power Exchange (NEPEX) said Thursday.
The voltage cutback will probably only cause heating units to warm up slowly, dimmer lights, and other minimal effects, J. Norman McKenzie, the spokesman for NEPEX, which supplies 95 per cent of New England's electrical power, said Thursday.
Because New England electrical power is primarily generated by oil burning, the energy crisis has forced the voltage cutback. However, several companies affiliated with NEPEX have started purchasing coal in anticipation of converting their generators to coal if federal air pollution controls are relaxed.
McKenzie warned, however, "If we continue to have an extremely tight fuel situation, we will have selective blackouts in certain sections of cities and towns in the region for an hour or two on a rotating basis."
The voltage drop will have no serious effects on Harvard, Stephen S.J. Hall, vice president for administration, said yesterday.
Hall explained the Building and Grounds Department's primary concern is that the voltage variances at reduced speeds may burn out heavy equipment, such as the motors which run elevators, furnace blowers, and pumps.
Although Leslie E. Thomas, head of utilities, said the burnouts were unlikely, he cautioned that old machinery has to be closely watched to guard against them, which will create a manpower strain.
Hall sent letters last week to all deans asking them to designate people to study each department's energy problems if crises in energy cutbacks should occur.