Con Ed Power Demand Topples 2006 Record; Power Outages Continue

If You Don't Want To Melt In The Dark , Utility Says To Keep Your Thermostat At 78

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The sun may be down, but the heat is still on and it’s taking a toll on the power grid.  It’s a problem that could last into the weekend.

At around 3:40 p.m. Friday, Con Edison announced that it hit an all-time, record-high 13,700 megawatt load.

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As of 10:25 p.m., Con Ed reported 28,140 customers were without power in New York City.  Of those outages, 13,304 were in Queens, with 5,323 in Richmond Hill.  PSE & G reported about 15,000 customer outages statewide.

LIPA was reporting 7,349 customers without power in Nassau County and 6,758 in Suffolk County.  Connecticut Light and Power is also reporting 2,863 customers are without power as of 10:25 p.m.

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Customers can report power or service problems online at or by calling 1.800.752.6633. If reporting an outage, have your account number ready if possible, and know whether or not your neighbors are also without power.

“We’re not out of the woods just yet,” Office of Emergency Management head Joe Bruno said earlier in the day.

They were lugging air conditioners, fanning themselves on the streets and carrying lots of iced drinks in Astoria, Queens on Friday — an area hit by a Con Ed mega blackout five years ago.

“I’m just fanning myself into a comfortable state. It’s better than sloshing around in the snow,” one resident said.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ John Montone reports 

Con Ed officials have been monitoring the soaring heat and the soaring usage from their command center. They have been relying on extra workers, lots of preparation and are asking customers to keep their thermostats at 78 degrees and turn off any appliances that are not absolutely necessary.

“We cross fingers, heads and toes, anything we can still tried to keep the power flowing reliably. We’re fairly confident we will, but we don’t want to assume anything,” Con Ed spokesperson Mike Clendenin said.

And here’s an amazing statistic: Con Ed said that for every degree below 78 that you set your thermostat, your bill goes up 6 percent.

So if you set your thermostat at 72 instead of 78, it means if your bill is normally $100 you’ll pay $136. Instead of $300, your bill will jump to $408.

Not many people are heeding the 78-degree fiat.

“I think I can deal with that increase in price for just a little bit, just to stay cooler,” Todd Ackerman said.

Saturday is also going to be a scorcher, so the message from the utility is conserve, conserve, conserve.

“This, we think, will be the most stressful day on the electric grid in recent history — maybe ever,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “What we need is people to turn their air conditioners to no cooler than 79 — it’s a little bit uncomfortable but not having electricity would be a lot more uncomfortable.”

“Obviously the heat is a factor our cables underground — there’s nowhere for the heat to go — they’re carrying extra electricity,” spokesman Chris Olert told 1010 WINS. “We are seeing that customers are conserving and we’re still urging them to conserve.”

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane In Irvington

Ahead of the heat wave, Con Edison said they were ready for the increase in demand all the air conditioning would cause.

“We spent more than $1 billion preparing for the summer of 2011 and beyond,” spokesman Alan Drury told 1010 WINS. “We’re confident that while there probably will be scattered outages that we’ll be able to keep them confined and short in duration.”

Homeowners have been asked to conserve as much energy as possible and to take care to keep the heat from creeping in.

Simple practices, such as pulling blinds down, keeping doors closed and running air conditioners at a moderate temperature, will go a long way.

“People can save a lot of money and energy by taking some simple steps such as cleaning their air conditioning filters,” Drury said.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • billl burns

    Coloreds demand outside air conditioning in Harlem. NAACP says all of Harlem should be 70 degrees outside.

  • proacman

    We take the internet for granted. Telephone and cell service for granted. Water and electricity for granted. Yet when we have to pay for it, we complain. There are a large number of businesses in this country that don’t perform and draw billions of dollars (dare I say Microsoft or any of the pharmeceutical companies) yet we give them a free ride. I think we should be greatful for the service we do get from Con Ed. Given the old infrastructure and the difficulty in maintaining cables under the street (not above the ground as in most communities) I can’t complain about their service.

  • Richie

    What about all the marquees, flashing billboards, & neon signs flashing all over Times Square & the rest of NYC?? No one telling them to put out or curtail their electrical use, so DON’T ask me to raise my AC Mike Bloomberg.

  • Mike

    But his is a normal summer day states like Texas and Arizona, then why Con Edison do not copy from them?

    ConEdison expensive and useless

    • rocco

      because new york has a lot more people hence more usage. idiot.

  • Fred

    Highest electric rates in the Nation, and con-ed still doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with what other utilities in hotter states manage to deal with on a daily basis.
    What a Racket!

    • rocco

      really? have you seen what chicago is going through? new york has much more usage and we’re still holding up pretty well.

    • John

      In Las Vegas, the summer months always average over 100*. Most days it’s 105 to 112. There aren’t many blackouts because the territory is spread out. In NY, let’s say Flushing, there used to be large single family homes, they have been knocked down and apartments put in there place. So, where there was 4 single homes with 4 families, now there are 400 family apartment houses. Con Ed keeps up with the population pretty good, these extra hot days are something everyone has to not only deal, with but conserve power as much as possible. You can bet that areas that have been hit the hardest, are being surveyed with an army of top notch engineers to examine the best way to alleviate the situation in the future.

  • Dave Kaspersin

    Obama decided to turn on the Debt Ceiling Fan in hopes of cooling CON GRESS down, But all it accomplished was to create a bigger power DRAIN !!!

  • Dave Kaspersin

    The company says in a statement that the voltage reduction was done as a precaution to protect equipment and maintain service as crews work to repair the problem. NOT TRUE. Voltage reduction is used to help keep the system from collapsing. And lower voltages cost the rate payers. The Grids are all weak. Power companies have not kept up their infrastructures. If you have an air conditioner or any appliance fail, have some one, not your power company, check your voltage. Anything below 115 volts will damage equipment.

  • Rugbyball

    I wonder what a whole house Natural Gas generator would cost to run during the summer? For what Con Ed charges for there rates and all those “hidden” fees, have a look at your bill and be confused and disgusted as I was at all the crazy fees, I’m guessing it maybe cheaper to make your own electric.



    • Rugbyball

      Now wait a minute, I am off the grid, using a Generator, and use no Con Ed electric.
      Yes my generator runs on Whale Oil but it doesn’t add to the stress on the Power Grid… :-)

      • Rugbyball

        Ok, CBS clipped the front of my message was to read like this.
        (Mayor Mike’s response to the People) Now wait a minute, I am off the grid, using a Generator, and use no Con Ed electric.
        Yes my generator runs on Whale Oil but it doesn’t add to the stress on the Power Grid… :-)

      • Ishmael

        Isn’t Ahab dead?

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