PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The sweltering heat is putting a lot of stress on the nation’s power grid as people crank up the air conditioning.

When we visited Peco headquarters today to see how the power company is handling the strain, the atmosphere was cool and calm inside Peco’s vast system control room — and management is hoping it’ll stay that way.

No problems had cropped up yet, but there are still another couple of days to go before this scorching weather system moves on.

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Peco’s Cathy Engel Menendez says that when it gets this hot, a lot of attention is drawn to the peak load monitor (photo below).

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peco control load monitor kurtz Peco Monitoring Area Electric Consumption As Heat Wave Burns On


“Typically what happens is, your peak per day is usually set in the afternoon, usually about 5 o’clock,” Menendez explains. “And when we have successive days of very hot temperature, you really start to watch how your customers are consuming electricity and making sure that your system is performing well and that you’re able to deliver.”

While the grid may under some strain now, a lot of homeowners and businesses will feel the heat next month, when they receive their July electric bills.  But Menendez says there are some things you can do to reduce usage.

“Close your blinds, shades, and drapes. When the sun is pouring in your windows, it’s just heating up your home and making your air conditioning system work harder.”

Also, turn off the lights and any unnecessary electronic devices when you leave a room, and avoid using appliances such as washers, dryers, and stoves during the day.  They’ll just add heat and humidity.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060

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