PEARL RIVER, NY July 21, 2011 — O&R has declared a Summer Heat Alert for today, Friday and Saturday.
The Company’s upgrade from Heat Watch, which has been effect for the past three days, to a to Heat Alert is the result of the sweltering weather forecast, the expected heavy air conditioning use and its accompanying unusually high electricity demand. If daily demand is expected to exceed 1500 megawatts, a Heat Alert is declared.
The sizzling weather through the end of the week is expected to push the load on the O&R electric system past 1,500 megawatts each day — today’s forecast is for a demand of 1,586.
O&R’s all-time electric demand record is 1,617 megawatts which was set on August 2, 2006.
The Heat Alert advisory means that field crews are focusing primarily on emergency work, with scheduled work being performed as system conditions permit.
The advisory also means that O&R engineers and system operators closely monitor the loads on distribution circuits, transformer banks and other key system components to detect any heat-related issues early so that any concerns are addressed quickly.
Spot checks will be made of potentially high-load circuits and transformers will be pre-loaded on trucks at O&R operations centers to expedite their placement in the field if needed. O&R will also institute load reduction measures at its own facilities.
O&R also urges the public to take steps to most efficiently use electricity, including turning down or turning off air conditioning in empty homes while you are away or at work. When using your room air conditioner, close doors to keep the cool air in and the hot air out. If you have central air conditioning, block the vents in unused or vacant rooms. (More steps below).
With all unusually hot weather, now, may be just the right time to take advantage of O&R’s Appliance Rebate Program.
Replace your old, inefficient, room air conditioner and dehumidifier with an ENERGY Star model and receive a rebate on your purchases. ENERGY STAR appliances are at least 10 percent more efficient than standard models. The following rebates apply:
· $25 for ENERGY STAR room air conditioner with capacity less than or equal to 1005,000 Btuh
· $50 for ENERGY STAR room air conditioner with a capacity of more than 15,000 Btuh
· $10 for ENERGY STAR dehumidifier
Choose the appliance that’s right for you. Refer to the ENERGY STAR list of eligible models for room air conditioners and dehumidifiers at energystar.gov.
To receive a rebate, customers should: purchase an ENERGY STAR qualifying room air conditioner or dehumidifier, compete an application form and mail it with the required documents. The application and more details about the Program are available on the oru.com homepage.
You must be an O&R electric customer in New York State to participate in this program. For questions, call 1-877-852-5678.
With today’s very high temperatures and humidity comes a very high demand for electricity to help keep us all cool. To help prevent power problems, please use that electricity wisely. Here are some tips that will help you weather the heat during these steamy days.
* Set the thermostat of your central air conditioner at 78 degrees F or higher to achieve maximum savings on your cooling costs. Setting the room temperature on the air conditioner at 75 degrees costs about 15 percent more. A 72-degree setting costs about 30 percent more than the 78-degree setting.
* Install a timer or clock thermostat on your air conditioner so you can program it to operate and shut-off at pre-determined hours so you won’t be running the air conditioning all day in an empty house…
* If you have a room air-conditioning unit, close off the rooms not being used; if you have central air, block off the vents for un-used rooms.
* Plan cooking, baking or other household activities that produce heat and humidity for the cooler times of the day and night.
* Use a portable or ceiling fan to circulate the pre-cooled air in your air-conditioned home. A fan uses about 90 percent less energy than an air conditioner.
* In very humid weather, adjust your air conditioner’s fan to a low setting. It’ll take longer for the air conditioner to cool your home, but your unit will bring in steamy air at a slower rate and make you feel more comfortable.
* As the sun moves from east to west during the day, pull your curtains and shades on windows to block out the heat.
The refrigerator is one of the largest energy-using appliances in the typical home:
* Maintain a constant temperature in the refrigerator of between 36 and 38 degrees for maximum effectiveness. The freezer should be kept at 15 degrees.
* Cover liquid items. They give off humidity that forces the refrigerator to use more energy.
* Place the most used items in one place so that the door will be open for a shorter period of time.
If you experience problems with your electric service, please call O&R at 1-877-434-4100. For more energy tips, please visit our website at www.oru.com.