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Heat Wave Hits Grid Hard

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted July 22, 2011

This week, the United States is seeing a heat wave unlike anything experienced this summer.

Temperatures along the East coast and in the Midwest are consistently in the triple digits, with heat indexes from humidity reaching 115°F or higher in some areas.

And these temperatures are putting a lot of stress on the power grid.

On Thursday, two of the country’s biggest power grids surpassed record demand rates – and Friday’s temperatures got even hotter.

PJM Interconnection, the largest power grid in the nation that serves over 13 states, hit demand of 158,450MW on Thursday evening, surpassing the record set in 2006, according to Reuters.

Midwest ISO is the second largest grid, and it too passed its 2006 record of 103,246MW with its Thursday demand of 103,975MW.

Companies like PJM are asking customers to try and conserve power on Friday, when temperatures shoot up even higher, especially during peak air conditioning hours.

On Friday morning, New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas Company had 3,500 customers without power, said the Wall Street Journal.

And that article also reported that customers of Consolidated Edison Inc (NYSE: ED), a power company in New York City, had to reduce voltage in certain areas on Thursday evening due to equipment failure.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu assured the public that there was no critical danger, and that the grid strain was not at crisis point, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

He did, however, urge citizens to be aware of energy usage, and to try to conserve power whenever possible.

Consolidated Edison announced that they were required to ask some businesses to conserve power on Friday due to the temperatures.

Other companies, such as PJM Interconnection, have done the same, offering a stipend to customers that cut down on power usage, according to Reuters.

Pull out the kiddie pool. It’s gonna be a hot one.

That’s all for now,


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