U.S., Canada power grids ready for heatwave

Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:13pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Power grid operators in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest and Ontario, Canada, said they have enough power resources to meet expected high demand on Thursday as consumers crank up their air conditioners to escape a brutal heatwave.

Power usage this week has already been higher than the grids expected for this summer and set a new demand record in the Midwest but was not expected to break records in the U.S. Northeast or Ontario set in 2006 before the economic recession, the grids said.

In the U.S. Midwest, the Midwest ISO said demand for power on Wednesday reached 103,975 megawatts, breaking the 12-state region's previous record of 103,246 MW set in July 2006.

Power companies across the region said they had enough electricity to meet the demand, but warned heavy usage could stress some power lines and generating facilities, which could leave some customers in the dark temporarily.

The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) issued excessive heat warnings and watches for cities from the Midwest to the East Coast with temperatures expected to top 100 degrees F in many places.

The mercury in New York City, the biggest metropolitan center in the United States, was expected to reach 100 degrees F, which matches the record set on this day in 1991. The humidity meanwhile will make it feel more like 108 degrees, according to weather forecaster AccuWeather.com.

Thunderstorms on Friday will break the heatwave in the Midwest, while the East Coast will have to wait until Sunday for temperatures to return to near normal levels in the upper 80s and low 90s, AccuWeather said.


PJM, which operates the biggest power grid in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, forecast electric usage would peak at 154,300 MW on Thursday, which is much higher than the 149,000 MW peak the grid forecast for this summer but still below the 158,448 MW peak record set in August 2006.   Continued...

<p>Detroit Edison's Trenton Channel Power Plant is seen in Trenton, Michigan April 8, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook</p>