Faced with a compulsory December steam reduction of 28 per cent. Harvard coordinated a special Programmed Energy Preservation team yesterday to conserve heat in the University.
The team, headed by Maurice E. Rice, assistant foreman of operating engineers, will traverse the 7.5 miles of underground steam tunnels nightly to shut off completely heat valves in classrooms and libraries and to lower dormitory temperatures to 60 degrees.
The heat will be turned on each morning which should bring building temperatures up to 68 degrees within an hour, Leslie E. Thomas, manager of utilities, said yesterday.
"Actually we're looking for more than a 28 per cent reduction, and I believe we'll be successful," Thomas said. "We're making it happen and this crew is quite an asset."
The Cambridge Electric Co., Harvard's supplier of steam and electricity, ordered Tuesday a customer curtailment of 28 per cent of the amount of steam utilized in December 1972.
The company also announced that it will level "very high" financial penalties on consumers exceeding their allotment, and will completely cut off the energy supply to offenders as a last resort, Thomas A. Dery, productions manager for the company, said yesterday.
The financial penalty would compensate electricity customers for the energy loss incurred by steam users who exceeded their ration. The ensuing electrical shortage would force Cambridge Electric to buy energy from other New England utilities at double the company's own generating cost, Dery said.
"Some of my customers were quite upset about the rationing and indicated that they would have problems, but Harvard sounded very optimistic," Dery said.
The energy crisis may result in an increase in '74-'75 tuition costs, Dean Rosovsky said yesterday. "The operation of the University is affected by all inputs, and to some extent the price of fuel will enter into consideration," he said. "We are running a $800,000 deficit in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and we have to be realistic about costs."
The Radcliffe campus, which has its own boilers and does not draw steam from Cambridge Electric, has received only 80 per cent of the oil normally used during this month.
The equipment underwent a $20,000 renovation this summer and as a result of the increased efficiency, Thomas said he anticipated few problems. "I feel we can economize at Radcliffe, and do things better than we have in the past," he said. The building temperatures at Radcliffe will also be lowered nightly.
"Like the rest of the American public, we're wondering what the hell is going to happen to us," Rosovsky said. "Heating is very difficult to regulate because much of our equipment is antiquated."
Members of the University who notice areas of wasted heat or have suggestions on ways to conserve energy are urged to call 5-SAVE