2006_07_outlet.jpgGothamist will admit it: We're afraid of a widespread power outage, given what happened in Queens two weeks ago and the unstable nature of what Con Ed's got going on. So we went to check the city's energy conservation tips:

- Set your air conditioner thermostat no lower than 78 degrees — a 75-degree setting uses 18 percent more electricity and a 72-degree setting uses 39 percent more electricity. This setting allows for sufficient cooling while still conserving electric power.
- Only use an air conditioner when you are home. If you want to cool your room down before you arrive home, set a timer to have it switch on no more than one-half hour before you arrive
- Turn off all nonessential appliances.
- Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
- Only use appliances that have heavy electrical loads (dishwashers, washers, dryers) early in the morning or very late at night.

The thing about adjusting the thermostat was interesting - but only if our AC units operated that way! And while we certainly do turn off all non essential appliances, appliances that aren't being used but are still plugged in (your TV, your hair dryer, your laptop) are still drawing electricity from the grid. Which is why Con Ed is asking everyone to conserve energy by unplugging TVs and printers when not in use! One good Con Ed tip is to keep shades, blinds and curtains closed: About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows. Simply drawing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat in your apartment or home.

The NY Times has an article about people who do and don't have air-conditioning - or roommates and couples who disagree about AC use (“It’s either bake or freeze, and I choose freeze.”). While some people hate the heat, there are some who don't: Those who sell ice cream and other frozen treats. And now it looks like most Queens businesses affected by the blackout have losses that are more than the $7,000 Con Ed is reimburse - not that should be a surprise since the blackout lasted over a week.