Dangerous Heat Peaks in N.Y. as Utilities Urge Conservation
(Bloomberg) -- A heat wave smothering the U.S. East Coast is expected to peak on Friday, setting new records in New York before a welcome cooling front arrives.
A heat advisory stretches from Virginia to the Maine-Canada border, with excessive heat warnings in place for New York as well as pockets of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Humidity could make it feel as high as 105 degrees in New York City.
“This is dangerous heat we’re talking about,” said Dominic Ramunni, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “Coupled with the humidity, it’s one of the hottest days of the summer.”
Regions around the globe have been grappling with extreme weather this summer. The second-largest wildfire in California history has now been raging for an entire month. The Italian island of Sicily may have just broken continental Europe’s heat record: 119.8. And the worst wildfires in decades killed at least 65 people this week in Algeria.
Searing heat in New York will drive up demand for power as residents crank up air conditioners, but it won’t be as high as Thursday when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asked New Yorkers to help conserve energy by not using appliances like washing machines and microwaves.
Electricity use across the state grid is expected to peak at 29,738 megawatts Friday afternoon, down 0.3% from the previous day, when consumption came in below forecast.
Consolidated Edison Inc. and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. issued requests Friday to customers in New York and Long Island to cut down on energy use, especially for the late afternoon when demand will be highest.
About 6,000 homes and businesses on Staten Island were without power, Con Ed said in statement shortly after 6 p.m. local time. The utility reduced voltage in the areas by 5% to protect equipment from further damage.
Power supplies are tightest on Long Island, which has fewer transmission links to the grid at large than the rest of the state. Prices there briefly surged to $1,230 per megawatt-hour at 2:30 p.m., shooting up 280% within moments. By 2:45 p.m., prices were back down to $245 per megawatt-hour. Twenty minutes later, prices spikes again.
The utility that serves Long Island, Public Service Enterprise Group, reported about 500 homes and businesses without power at 6 p.m.
Power generators around the state were operating full tilt.
“We are firing on all cylinders,” said Clint Plummer, chief executive officer of Rise Light & Power, a unit of LS Power that owns New York City’s biggest power plant. Its 2,000-megawatt Ravenswood Generating Station in Queens has been running at 100% of its capacity during this week’s heat wave, supplying as much as a quarter of the city’s electricity at times on Wednesday. The plant was expected to run Friday entirely on gas, though it has the ability to blend in oil when needed.
New Yorkers will get some relief on Saturday though. A cool front will sweep in from the Midwest that could reduce temperatures by 10 degrees and may bring some rain, Ramunni said. Peak demand is expected to plunge that day to 23,323 megawatts with the heat wave breaking.
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