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July 3 (Reuters) - The New York power grid said on Wednesday it is prepared to keep consumers' air conditioners humming early next week when a heat wave bakes the Big Apple even though a giant nuclear power reactor at Indian Point was shut this week.
"We are monitoring the weather and projected loads. As of today, we expect to have adequate resources to meet the demand," Dave Flanagan, a spokesman at the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), said in answer to a question about next week's supply and demand situation.
The NYISO operates the power grid in New York.
Entergy Corp, which owns and operates Indian Point, said it expects the 1,006-megawatt (MW) Unit 2 at the plant to return to service over the next couple of days.
The reactor, which shut early Wednesday after the pumps that feed water to its steam generators shutdown automatically, is the third biggest power unit in New York.
Power traders said the loss of the Indian Point reactor now is not good because of the coming heat wave, but they also said it was not devastating to the reliability of the grid because many businesses will shut for the next four days, cutting power usage, for the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.
"It's never good to lose a reactor in the summer but if you are going to lose one - the Fourth of July weekend is a good time," one trader said.
"The health of the grid depends on how hot it gets next week and how long the reactor remains shut," the trader added.
After Indian Point shut, traders said power for next week in the Hudson Valley, where the nuclear plant is located, reached the low $80s per megawatt hour, up from the mid $50s for Friday.
The two Indian Point reactors, located on the Hudson River about 40 miles north of Manhattan in the town of Buchanan, can generate 2,037 MW of energy, which is about a quarter of the power used in New York City on a normal day.
But next week will be hot and humid and consumers will crank up their air conditioners more than usual to escape the heat.
Temperatures in New York City are expected to top 90 F (32.2 C) from Saturday, July 6, through Tuesday, July 9. Normal temperatures for this time of year in the city are about 84 degrees, according to AccuWeather.com.
The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which operates the state's power grid, forecast peak demand would taper off for the long holiday weekend from near 28,000 MW on Wednesday to highs between 24,600 MW and 27,000 MW Thursday through Sunday, before jumping up to 31,400 MW on Monday and 32,100 MW on Tuesday.
Those forecasted demand levels are still below the ISO's all time record demand of 33,939 MW set in August 2006 before commercial and industrial usage was reduced during the economic crisis, and also below the NYISO's 33,279 MW forecast for peak usage this summer.
The biggest power companies operating in New York include units of Consolidated Edison Inc, National Grid Plc , Iberdrola SA, Entergy, TransCanada Inc and NRG Energy Inc.