Local/State

Frigid morning temperatures set power usage record

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

In addition to the toll this cold takes on your body, the demand for a little extra heat can put a strain on the power grid.

PJM Interconnection in Lower Providence Township is air traffic control for the power grid, monitoring and coordinating the distribution of electricity to all the power suppliers around the region - 61-million customers across 13 states and the District of Columbia.

They tell us that this morning this region set a record for winter use, and we're heading into another peak time. So to avoid blackouts, they are asking all customers to conserve.

Frigid weather like this puts a serious strain on the power grid. It's more difficult to get power sources up and running properly and efficiently, and then demand is very high as people come in from the cold and try to stay warm during the day and during the cold winter nights.

Michael Bryson of PJM explains, "It gets cold. People turn their heaters on and they leave them on all through the night. Different from the summer when you turn the AC on and turn it down. They keep it on so it creates a demand that stays out there for a longer period of time."

To ease the strain on the power grid and prevent potential blackouts, PJM is urging customers to conserve.

Set thermostats lower than usual.

Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves dishwashers and clothes dryers until midday or after 9 p.m. when the demand for electricity decreases.

And turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using - especially as we enter another peak time for power usage when people come home and the sun sets.

Bryson says, "We are going to see it again tonight so anything we can get from customers is going to be very helpful."

You can do your part to ensure a blackout doesn't happen by turning out a few lights and waiting to run those appliances.

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new jersey news, energy, local/state, sarah bloomquist
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