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Extreme heat drives power demands

Think twice before you crank the a/c
Think twice before you crank the a/c

Staff writers

June 21, 2012 — Officials are urging customers across Ontario and Quebec to be mindful of their hydro use as temperatures climb into the 30s.

The heat can put a strain on the power supply
The heat can put a strain on the power supply

For many people, the heat and humidity across Ontario and Quebec is unbearable. Temperatures have soared into the 30s, feeling closer to 40 with the humidity.

And while an air conditioned home is one of the best places to beat the heat, the need to cool off has put a strain on the power supply. According to Toronto Hydro, the heat may have contributed to localized power outages that were reported across the city on Wednesday morning.

The heat can put extra demand on the grid, especially during peak times of 11 am - 5 pm. On Tuesday, peak demand across Ontario reached nearly 23,500 megawatts before dinner time and on Wednesday, it peaked closer to 24,700 megawatts.

Officials recommend cooling your home during off-peak hours, which can help to both relieve any strain on the system and avoid a significant spike with your next hydro bill. Another way to reduce the strain is to simply pre-cool your house.

"If you know hot weather is coming, don't just turn your air conditioner on when it becomes hot, you want to start it up a little bit in advance," says Bill Pryhoda from Trane Air Solutions "You can reduce the load on your air conditioner, specifically solar load, by keeping your drapes drawn or your blinds shut. Also, if you've got any registers in the basement close those off to allow the cooler air to get to the upper floors."

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