August 3, 2006

NY set for 3rd day of record power demand

By Scott DiSavino

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With the brutal heat wave in the
Northeast expected to ease tonight, New York was the only power
grid still forecasting electricity usage would reach record
levels for the third day in a row Thursday as customers keep
their air conditioners humming.

The New York Independent Electricity Operator (NYISO)
forecast peak usage would hit 34,000 megawatts on Thursday,
breaking the current peak of 33,939 MW set Wednesday, which
broke Tuesday's record of 33,879 MW.

If power usage hits the forecast peak Thursday, that would
be 6 percent higher than last year's then record of 32,075 MW.

Typically, one MW powers about 800 homes. But during heat
waves and other times of higher-than-usual usage, one MW powers

Meteorologists forecast temperatures in New York would
reach 98 degrees Fahrenheit with the humidity making it feel
more like 112 degrees, according to forecaster AccuWeather.

Although the heat wave has strained the power grid, the
grid operator did not have to resort to rolling blackouts.

The generating plants produced sufficient electricity to
meet the demand, while the transmission lines moved the power
to the towns and neighborhoods where people live and work.

The distribution system, which takes the power from the
transmission substations to people's homes and businesses, also
did a good job of keeping the lights on for most customers, but
there were some scattered outages over the past few days.

At about 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT), there were 5,500
Consolidated Edison Inc. customers in New York City and
Westchester County and 3,200 Long Island Power Authority (LIPA)
customers on Long Island without power, mostly due to
heat-related outages.


Con Edison and the LIPA both set record peaks on Wednesday
and could do so again today.

Con Edison, which serves 3.2 million customers, set a peak
demand of 13,141 MW, topping the previous record of 13,103 MW
set on Monday. That beat last year's record of 13,059 MW by
about 1 percent.

LIPA, which serves more than 1.1 million customers, set a
peak demand record of 5,736 MW, surpassing the previous record
of 5,613 MW set on Tuesday. That eclipsed last year's record of
5,267 MW by almost 11 percent.

To keep the supply and demand in balance, the NYISO and
local utilities have called on the public to conserve energy.

The NYISO and the utilities also asked commercial and
industrial customers, who agreed to cut power during
emergencies in exchange for lower utility rates, to reduce
their usage. These conservation programs could shave the demand
by as much as 650 MW in New York City and Long Island and 420
MW in western New York.