UPDATE 1-Heat wave stresses US Northeast power grid

* Power demand to approach record levels

* Supplies enough to meet peak demand

* Con Ed had 2,800 customers without power due to heat
(Updates with demand forecasts)

NEW YORK, July 6 (BestGrowthStock) – The U.S. Northeast has enough
power to keep everyone’s air conditioner humming, even with the
mercury hitting the triple digits from Massachusetts to
Virginia, utilities said Tuesday.

However, electric companies urged consumers to cut back on
energy use to relieve the stresses on the power system.

Several power companies forecast demand was approaching the
record highs set during a brutal heat wave in 2006 before the
recession curbed industrial demand.

“We are anticipating a potential record-breaking day for
electric usage,” said John Miksad, senior vice president with
Consolidated Edison Inc (ED.N: ) of New York. “It’s not a record
we’re hoping to break and we are encouraging conservation among
all of our customers.”

Despite ample generation, heavy usage has taxed some power
plants and distribution lines, leaving thousands of homes and
businesses along the East Coast stewing in the heat without
electricity.

In New York, Con Ed, with more than 3.2 million customers,
had about 2,800 homes and businesses without service Tuesday as
temperatures topped 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius).
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US weather roundup on heat wave [ID:nN02130570]

Reuters Insider show on electricity demand

http://link.reuters.com/dyz95m
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The state-owned New York Power Authority (NYPA), meanwhile,
activated its demand response program, which pays large
business and government customers, such as Citibank (C.N: ) and
New York City, to cut back on energy usage during heat waves.

Businesses and government offices can conserve energy by
shutting nonessential lights and discretionary equipment such
as extra elevators or escalators, turning off pumps for
ornamental fountains, limiting the cooling of buildings, and
turning on emergency generators to offset some of the
electricity they take from the power grid.

Meteorologists forecast the heat wave would release its
grip on much of the Mid-Atlantic region on Wednesday.

MOST DEMAND RECORDS WILL SURVIVE

Although some power companies could break peak demand
records Tuesday, the regional grid operators, which oversee
several local power companies, do not expect to see their 2006
records fall.

PJM, operator of the biggest grid in the United States,
forecast demand Tuesday would fall short of the all-time record
because the heat was baking only the eastern part of its
territory.

Temperatures in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC
should top the century mark Tuesday, but Chicago’s highs were
only expected to approach 90 F (32 C).

“To break the 2006 peak, it really needs to be hot
everywhere, not just in the East,” said PJM spokesman Ray
Dotter.

PJM forecast demand Tuesday would reach about 139,000
megawatts, which could be the highest since 2007, but short of
the all-time record of 144,644 MW set in August 2006 when a
brutal heat wave blanketed the entire system.

PJM serves more than 51 million people in all or parts of
Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New
Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee,
Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes.

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which
operates the state grid, forecast demand Tuesday would top
32,000 MW, easily beating the 2009 peak, but still short of the
all-time record of 33,939 MW set in August 2006.

ISO New England, which operates the region’s six-state
power grid, forecast demand Tuesday would top last year’s peak
but likely end up about 1,000 MW shy of the August 2006 record
of 28,130 MW.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino and Chelsea Emery; Editing by
Lisa Shumaker)

UPDATE 1-Heat wave stresses US Northeast power grid