PEARL RIVER, NY June 24, 2010 — For the second day in a row and for the second time in the 2010 summer season that began Monday, O&R today issued a Summer Heat Watch advisory.
Because of today’s high temperatures and accompanying high humidity, O&R is predicting the load on its electric system to exceed 1300 megawatts — today’s forecast is for 1368 megawatts (yesterday’s demand forecast was 1318 megawatts and the actual was 1309) — placing O&R on Heat Watch status. That high demand for electricity demand is driven chiefly by high air conditioning usage.
That Heat Watch status means that non-emergency work on O&R’s electric distribution and transmission systems is deferred to another day and that distribution system engineers closely monitor the loads on distribution circuits, transformer banks and other key system components.
O&R also issues a public advisory outlining some prudent steps customers can take to use electricity more effectively to beat the heat.
Here are the energy conservation tips issued to the public.
With today’s very high temperatures, comes a very high demand for electricity to help keep us all cool.
To help prevent power problems, please use that electricity wisely. Here’re 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 20 percent more. A 72-degree setting costs about 40 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. That saves you from running it all day so you return at day’s end to a cool 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.
Aside from your cooling system, the refrigerator is the largest energy-using appliance in the typical home, representing 20 percent of the typical electric bill.
* Maintain a constant temperature in the refrigerator of between 36 and 38 degrees for maximum effectiveness. The freezer should be kept at 15 degrees.
* If the temperature outside is 95 degrees or more, change the refrigerator temperature to a higher setting so it does not have to work as hard.
* Cover liquid items. They give off humidity that forces the refrigerator to use more energy.
* Maintain a full freezer or add ice cubes so it is full, and does not have to cool open air space that takes 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.