▶️ First heatwave of summer tests electric grid as homeowners crank up the AC

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As temperatures approach triple-digits, homeowners are cranking up air conditioners and spinning their electric meters.

We checked with utility companies to see how their electric supply grids are holding up during this first major heatwave of summer.

Thankfully here in the Pacific Northwest we have a very reliable source of electricity.

Brown outs and blackouts are unlikely unless we have some sort of major malfunction in the grid.

Thirty one federal hydropower projects generate 85% of the nearly carbon-free electricity the Bonneville Power Administration sells at cost to its preferred customers.

But if keeping costs down is important to rate payers, there are several simple steps homeowners can take to reduce their power use.

“Pull your shades. Pull your blinds, especially during the hottest parts of the day. That will insulate your home from the heat,” said Courtney Cobb, Central Electric Cooperative communications coordinator.

“We have wonderful cool evenings and cool mornings, so go ahead and open your windows up and let that cool air in and give your air conditioning unit a break.”

Pacific Power, which supplies power to two million customers in six states, says it maintains grid stability by installing new equipment such as switches, voltage regulators and transformers.

“From a systems standpoint, are there going to be any problems supplying the need for electricity? No,” said Tom Gauntt, Pacific Power media spokesman. “Even last year during the heat dome, which was a very intense situation, it didn’t come up in that way either.” 

Consecutive days of near triple digit heat and nighttime temperatures that don’t get below 70 can strain the grid.

Thankfully, the forecast is for cooling conditions in the next couple of days.

 

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