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New Yorkers Set Record for Power Consumption Friday

July 20, 2013

By The Times Union

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New Yorkers set a record for power consumption Friday afternoon in response to a heat wave that has pushed temperatures into the 90s for six straight days.

Electric usage peaked Friday afternoon at 33,956 megawatts, topping the old record of 33,939 set in August 2006. The New York Independent System Operator, which oversees the state`s high-voltage electric grid, for the third consecutive day called upon large electricity consumers across the state to limit their electricity usage.

NYISO has a maximum of 37,925 megawatts of in-state generating capacity. System officials cautioned that Friday`s record could be revised upward over the weekend.

Among customers voluntarily limiting their electric use was the town of Glenville`s water department, which took its water treatment plant offline after filling storage tanks to meet the town`s needs.

Glenville has a backup generator in case more water is needed. For participating in the NYISO program, the town receives $7,500 for the summer, and between $2,000 and $3,000 during non-peak demand months. The payment can vary, depending on yearly energy rates.

The Glenville water plant was "off the grid" Thursday and Friday this week, said town officials.

When notified by National Grid, the plant fills the water tanks so it can disconnect from the grid. If there is a "rush on water," Chris Koetzle, Glenville town supervisor said, the plant has a backup generator to ensure the town has enough water.

Such electricity conservation programs are used in times of strain on the electrical grid, such as extreme highs or lows in temperature that require more energy to cool or heat buildings.

NYISO mostly manages the balancing act by making sure enough power plants are generating electricity but it also has several "demand-response" programs, including the one that covers Glenville`s water plant, that provide incentives for large energy cusumers to shut off or reduce their power consumption during severe weather.

On Friday the Glenville plant was on standby, waiting to see if it would be offline on Saturday.

"This is a great program," said Koetzle, " because it`s saving energy, putting more access back into the grid, bolsters the grid, and we get paid for it, which I like."

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(c)2013 The Times Union, Albany, N.Y.

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Story image: Thomas Grant fans himself with his t-shirt while taking a break from gardening in the Jackie Robinson Community Garden in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

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