Lehigh University, through the Facilities Department, participates in a power curtailment program to reduce peak-afternoon electricity consumption when extreme weather can threaten the reliability of the regional power grid. Facilities must reduce its power consumption during at least one two-hour test period each year and may be asked to do so more frequently by the regional power grid operator, PJM Interconnection. These events are not announced very far in advance but their likelihood increases on summer days when temperatures rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity or on winter days when temperatures fall below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
These power curtailment events affect all three campuses. The impacts on each campus are dependant on how much power Lehigh is using when each event starts. If at the start of an event if the weather is mild and power consumption is moderate, the campus community impacts will be minimal. However on hot, humid summer days when power consumption is high, Lehigh may need to reduce the power used by its air-conditioning systems for a few hours and occupants in the affected buildings may notice an increased indoor temperature. All air-conditioning systems will be returned to normal operations after the event ends.
During these events Facilities asks all Lehigh employees that are on campus to assist in this effort by turning off all unecessary lights, computer, office, and laboratory equipment for the duration of the event.