"We're going to use more energy in the next couple of days than we've ever used before in New York City," promises Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee. Because today and tomorrow will be much more humid than the last few brutally hot days, the heat index is expected to rise to 104 degrees, and with offices reopening after the holiday weekend, electricity demand will soar. The record for peak electricity demand was set during the August 2006 heat wave, when we "needed" 13,141 megawatts to "survive." We can beat that by noon.
Con Ed is asking New Yorkers to conserve as much energy possible to avoid power failures. "When we're facing sustained heat like this in such a dense urban environment, with 90,000 miles of wires under the streets, we'll get some burnouts," McGee tells the Daily News. The company wants you to be a team player and set your air conditioners for 78 degrees or above and wait until after 10 p.m. to run appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. Last week McGee told us they typically plan for a peak demand of 12,000 megawatts, and Monday was the 34th time in history that demand rose above that, to 12,680 megawatts, contributing to power outages concentrated in Williamsburg.
Of course, a heat advisory is in effect—the city has 500 cooling centers open (more beat-the-heat tips here)—and the National Weather Service says "a warm ridge aloft and surface high pressure over the mid Atlantic states will keep hot and increasingly more humid conditions across the area through mid-week." Brian Korty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, tells CBS2 that warm air is "sitting over the top of us, and it's not really going to budge much for the next day or two."
The first five days of July have averaged 6 degrees hotter than the same period last year, but don't go believing in Al Gore's global warming conspiracies—forecasters predict that on Thursday temperatures will plummet to the frigid mid-80s!