Sweltering New York may try to reduce power use for 2nd straight day

Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:09am EDT
 
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By Scott DiSavino

July 16 (Reuters) - New York state's power grid operator said it might activate its demand response programs for a second day on Tuesday to reduce electricity usage in the New York City area as consumers crank up their air conditioners to escape a brutal heat wave.

The New York Independent System Operator on Monday activated the demand response programs, which can reduce power usage by more than 1,250 megawatts. One megawatt can power up to 1,000 homes.

Participants in demand response programs are compensated for cutting back on electricity use by raising air conditioner thermostats, turning off unnecessary lights and other equipment such as elevators, and if available, running on-site generators to reduce the amount of power needed from the grid.

Temperatures in New York City, the biggest metropolitan area in the United States, reached 94 degrees F (34 C) on Monday. They are expected to hit 95 F on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 94 on Friday before thunderstorms break the heat wave on Saturday, according to weather forecaster AccuWeather.com.

"We are expecting to meet Tuesday's peak demand and maintain our operating reserve requirement over the peak hour," said NYISO spokesman Ken Klapp.

NYISO forecast demand would peak at 33,300 MW Tuesday afternoon, which is close to the grid's all-time record of 33,939 MW set in 2006, before industrial and commercial companies reduced power usage during the recession.

On Monday, peak demand reached the highest level so far in 2013 at 32,703 MW, which topped the 2012 record of 32,439 MW, the NYISO said.

The biggest power companies in New York include units of Consolidated Edison Inc, National Grid Plc, Iberdrola SA, Entergy Corp, TransCanada Corp and NRG Energy Inc.