The ongoing heat wave is having a direct and immediate impact on electricity usage. Due to sustained high temperatures forecasted for the remainder of the week, experts predict demand for electricity in New York state could be pushed to near-record levels.
As a result of the higher-than-normal demand on the system, Commission staff has been in constant communication with the state’s utility companies to ensure they are prepared for any heat-related outages, including current and planned communications with customers. Staff will continue to monitor conditions and ensure that the utility companies take appropriate steps to manage the demand for energy.
To reduce energy use, particularly during peak periods, consumers are encouraged to take some of the following low- or no-cost energy saving measures:
-- Close drapes, windows and doors on your home's sunny side to reduce solar heat buildup.
-- Turn off air conditioners, lights and other appliances when not at home and use a timer to turn on your air conditioner about a half-hour before arriving home. Use power strips to centrally “turn off” all appliances and save energy.
-- If purchasing an air conditioner, look for an ENERGY STAR qualified model. ENERGY STAR air conditioners use up to 25 percent less energy than a standard model.
-- Fans can make rooms feel five to 10 degrees cooler and use 80 percent less energy than air conditioners.
-- Set your air conditioner at 78 degrees or higher to save on your cooling costs.
-- Place your air conditioner in a central window, rather than a corner window, to allow better air movement.
-- Consider placing the unit on the north, east or the best-shaded side of your home. Your air conditioner has to work harder and use more energy if it is exposed to direct sunlight.
-- Seal spaces around the air conditioner with caulking to prevent cool air from escaping.
-- Clean the cooling and condenser fans plus the coils to keep your air conditioner operating efficiently, check the filter every month and replace as needed.
-- Use appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and ovens early in the morning or late at night. This will also help reduce humidity and heat in the home.
-- Use energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs instead of standard incandescent light bulbs, and you can use 75 percent less energy.
-- Microwave food when possible. Microwaves use approximately 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens.
-- Dry clothes on a clothes line. If using a clothes dryer, remember to clean the dryer’s lint trap before every load.
-- Be mindful of the different ways you’re consuming water throughout your home. Instead of using 30 to 40 gallons of water to take a bath, install a low-flow showerhead, which uses less than 3 gallons a minute.
Additional tips on how to conserve energy can be found on the websites at www.AskPSC.com and www.NYSERDA.ny.gov.