PEARL RIVER NY July 15, 2013 5 p.m.— Scorching temperatures and simmering humidity pushed O&R’s electric demand peak today to 1,469 megawatts at 5 p.m.
The all-time highest demand day in O&R history was August 2, 2006 when the company recorded 1,617 megawatts of demand on its electric system.
Earlier today, O&R upgraded its operational status from a Heat Watch to a Heat Alert, and began making public appeals to customers to use their air conditioning and other electrical appliances wisely this week.
The continued baking heat and stifling humidity are driving exceptionally heavy air conditioning use and its accompanying high electricity demand. O&R expects to maintain its Heat Alert through the week.
O&R declares a Heat Alert if the electric demand is predicted to peak over 1,500 megawatts for the day or if the heat index is forecasted to reach over 100 degrees for two days or more. This Heat Alert was triggered by the heat index forecast.
O&R urges the public to take steps to most efficiently use electricity through this week, 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).
Today, O&R field crews are focusing primarily on emergency work, with scheduled work being performed as system conditions permit. Extra crews will be deployed this evening.
O&R engineers and system operators are closely monitoring 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 before they become issues.
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 also will institute load reduction measures at its own facilities.
To help prevent power problems this week, please use 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:
* 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.
TOP 10 ELECTRIC PEAK DEMAND DAYS IN O&R HISTORY
1. 8/2/06 Wednesday 1,617 MW @ 5 P.M.
2. 7/22/11 Friday 1,599 MW @ 4 P.M.
3. 8/03/06 Thursday 1,588 MW @ 4 P.M.
4. 8/1/06 Tuesday 1,586 MW @ 5 P.M.
5. 7/6/10 Tuesday 1,572 MW @5 P.M.
6. 7/7/10 Wednesday 1,558 MW @ 5 P.M
7. 7/21/11 Thursday 1,540 MW @ 5 P.M.
8. 7/27/05 Wednesday 1,539 MW @ 5 P.M.
9. 6/10/08 Tuesday 1,530 MW @ 5 P.M.
10. 7/18/06 Tuesday 1,528 MW @ 4 P.M.