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New England sets record for energy demand as heat wave continues

New England recorded its highest power usage in history Tuesday, according to Ken McDonnell, a spokesman for ISO New England, manager of the region's power grid. The peak, reached Tuesday afternoon, was 27,374 megawatts of power, eclipsing the previous record set on July 27, 2005, when usage reached 26,885 megawatts.

Energy demand hit an all-time high in New England on Tuesday as people coped with a third straight day of temperatures in the 90s by pumping their air conditioners to escape the heat, but some had no choice but to sweat it out.

"Just to go from the house to the car, you feel like you need another shower," said Joyce Monaco, 61, of Cranston, R.I., who watched from the shade as her 4-year-old granddaughter played at Fargnoli Park, a free city water park in Providence, R.I.

In New Haven, Conn., letter carrier Ceferino Roman walked his route in 20 minute intervals, getting into his truck -- with no air conditioning -- in between.

"If I see sprinklers or hydrants, I just drench myself," he said. "This is the worst. There's barely any wind, and I think it's just going to get worse."

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service said Tuesday was the warmest day of the week in Southern New England, with Boston hitting 97 by mid-afternoon, and Providence and Hartford hovering in the mid-90s. The high humidity made it feel like it was 100 degrees or more, as a heat wave swept the nation from New York to California.

Forecasters... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Energy demand hit an all-time high in New England on Tuesday as people coped with a third straight day of temperatures in the 90s by pumping their air conditioners to escape the heat, but some had no choice but to sweat it out.

"Just to go from the house to the car, you feel like you need another shower," said Joyce Monaco, 61, of Cranston, R.I., who watched from the shade as her 4-year-old granddaughter played at Fargnoli Park, a free city water park in Providence, R.I.

In New Haven, Conn., letter carrier Ceferino Roman walked his route in 20 minute intervals, getting into his truck -- with no air conditioning -- in between.

"If I see sprinklers or hydrants, I just drench myself," he said. "This is the worst. There's barely any wind, and I think it's just going to get worse."

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service said Tuesday was the warmest day of the week in Southern New England, with Boston hitting 97 by mid-afternoon, and Providence and Hartford hovering in the mid-90s. The high humidity made it feel like it was 100 degrees or more, as a heat wave swept the nation from New York to California.

Forecasters did say temperatures should return to the 80s on Wednesday.

New England recorded its highest power usage in history Tuesday, according to Ken McDonnell, a spokesman for ISO New England, manager of the region's power grid. The peak, reached Tuesday afternoon, was 27,374 megawatts of power, eclipsing the previous record set on July 27, 2005, when usage reached 26,885 megawatts.

An increase in air conditioning use is mainly to blame for the spike in demand for power, especially as air conditioners have become more affordable in recent years, McDonnell said.

At the Providence Place Mall, business was up at TCBY frozen yogurt and ice cream stand, worker Alicia Rodriguez said she sold twice as much as she would normally sell on a Tuesday.

"The heat, they just want to get out of the heat, and the mall has air conditioning," she said.

For some who had to be outdoors, work offered a bit of relief.

Alicia Mullen and Alannah Johnson, aides at Fargnoli Park in Providence took occasional dips themselves while keeping an eye on more than 20 children darting in and out of sprinklers.

"When it was cold, we wanted it to be hot," said Mullen, 18.

"But now when it's warm, it's not so fun anymore," added Johnson, 15, who was half drenched.

Despite the record demand, no brownouts were reported by Tuesday afternoon, and ISO had not called on other states to import electricity or asked customers or the public to reduce their usage, said Erin O'Brien, a spokeswoman for ISO.

But high demand caused by the heat was responsible for some power outages in other parts of the country. One of LaGuardia Airport's four terminals and part of a second lost power in New York when the demand triggered equipment problems. Calls went out for electricity conservation in California, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered state offices to adjust thermostats and turn off nonessential lights.

In Connecticut, municipal and district health departments advised people without air conditioning to spend time at senior and community centers, malls, movie theaters and other public spots where they could stay cool.

The Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs asked the state's senior centers to stay open late for those without air conditioning.

In Hartford and Boston, city swimming pools had extended hours. Senior citizens in Hartford were advised to spend the day the one of the city's five neighborhood senior centers or the Salvation Army headquarters.

Not everyone was complaining about the heat. While many people outside were scrambling to find shade, Andrew and Pauline Gott were sitting in the direct sun on a metal bench in front of the New England Aquarium in Boston.

"It's a bit humid, but it's no problem," said Andrew Gott. He and his wife Pauline were visiting Boston from England.

"We're on holiday, so we don't care," Pauline Gott said. "It's nice to get warm. We don't get this kind of heat in England."


Source: http://www.boston.com/news/...

JUL 19 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3574-new-england-sets-record-for-energy-demand-as-heat-wave-continues
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