Nyack, July 6 — This just in from O&R, our local Con Ed power subsidiary: It’s hot outside and people are running their air conditioners. O&R predicts we will end the day at 85% of O&R’s all-time electric demand record. At 2:30p the temperature was 90 (WeatherUnderground says it feels like 95) with a predicted high for the day of 92. The DEC has also declared an Air Quality alert for today until 11p tonight
This week’s increasingly hot and humid weather forecast has prompted O&R to post a second consecutive Heat Watch — this time for Thursday, July 7.
The rising heat and humidity are expected to continue to drive air conditioning use up. That increase is predicted to push demand for electricity Thursday on the O&R system past 1,300 megawatts, triggering a Heat Watch.
Thursday’s O&R electricity demand is expected to peak at 1,387 megawatts. Today’s Heat Watch electricity demand is expected to peak at 1,366 megawatts. 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 electric distribution system engineers will be closely monitoring the loads on distribution circuits, transformer banks and other key system components to detect any heat-related issues so any concerns are addressed quickly. Field crews will be at the ready to respond to any electric system problems as well.
O&R advises its customers to take steps through Thursday, and most likely through Friday this week, at least, to most efficiently use electricity.
There’s good reason to run your A/C: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has declared an Air Quality alert for our area today from 11a to 11p. Air quality levels in outdoor air are predicted to be greater than an air quality index value of 100 for the pollutant of ground level ozone. The air quality index… or aqi… was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale. The higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern.
O&R offers some tips to beat the heat this week — and through the rest of the summer.
- Set your air conditioner to the highest comfortable temperature. Every degree you lower the thermostat drives your bill up by 6 percent.
- 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.
- In the refrigerator, cover liquid items. They give off humidity that forces the refrigerator to use more energy.
- Also in the refrigerator, place the most used items in one place so that the door will be open for a shorter period of time.