NYC Brownout: Heat Wave Forces Com Ed To Lower Power Voltage

NEW YORK CITY, New York – In the midst of a blistering heat wave, Consolidated Edison Inc. announced Monday that it would be lowering the power voltage in some New York neighborhoods, easing the load on the power grid, and allowing workers to fix heat-damaged equipment in the areas most affected. This is the second time Com Ed has reduced voltage (known as a brownout) in the three days the heat wave has terrorized the city.

Temperatures in the New York City heat wave have slowly climbed from 91 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday to 96 on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Com Edison spokesman, Allan Drury, said that Wednesday’s demand for power was higher than Tuesday’s, which actually set a record for 2012 at 12,455 megawatts. Com Ed’s all-time record stands at 13,189 megawatts, a record set last year in July of 2011, notes Reuters. To add context, one megawatt powers roughly 1,000 homes.

Con Edison did not ask affected homes to turn off air conditioners or appliances, but did advise people to use power wisely in the heat wave. In a power reduction, or brownout as they are popularly called, no one loses power. Certain types of lights (incandescent) can flicker and dim, hot water heaters work slower, and some motors can be affected, reports the Chicago Tribune.

According to Com Ed, the system is working just fine, and only 2,700 people were without power Wednesday. Given the size of the grid and the severity of the heat wave, that is considered to be a low number.

Are you in New York City for the heat wave right now? Has it cooled off any?