Today's hot, steamy weather forecast prompted O&R to issue a Summer Heat Watch for today. The sweltering weather is expected to cause heavy air conditioning use and high electricity demand. The state issued an
The combination of heat and humidity is expected to push the load on the O&R electric system past 1300 megawatts. The forecast is for 1370 megawatts which triggered O&R's Heat Watch status.
O&R’s all-time electric demand record is 1,617 megawatts which was set on August 2, 2006.
The Heat Watch advisory means that field crews are focusing primarily on emergency work, with normal work being performed as system conditions permit. The advisory also means that distribution system engineers closely monitor the loads on distribution circuits, transformer banks and other key system components to detect any heat-related issues so any concerns are addressed quickly.
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.
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.
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.
* 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 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.