New York Will Sizzle Today as Power Demand Tests Grid

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(Bloomberg) -- New York and the US Northeast will swelter through one of the hottest days of summer on Thursday, pushing energy demand higher as people crank up air conditioners to keep cool.

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The high in Manhattan’s Central Park is expected to reach 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius), approaching the 100-degree record set for the date in 1944, according to the National Weather Service. Meanwhile, Thursday’s high in Boston could reach 97 -- a new record for the date -- while Washington, D.C. could hit 98 and Philadelphia may reach 97.

“We’re in a hot pattern and right now Saturday looks like the coolest day of the bunch,” said James Connolly, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York. “Sunday should start warming up again.”

The hot weather is spread across much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, with heat advisories stretching from North Carolina to Maine. The combination of high temperatures and humidity could make temperatures feel closer to 100 to 104 degrees in the New York City metropolitan area. Temperatures should drift to 90 Friday and 87 on Saturday before climbing again next week.

The heat may stress New York City’s power system, after repeated hits of hot, humid weather this summer. Consolidated Edison, which operates the utility for most of the city, is mobilizing crews for any repairs needed. Early last week, the company asked parts of Brooklyn to conserve electricity so it could do repairs.

“Heat, humidity and increased demand for electricity to power air conditioners can cause cables to overheat and lead to outages,” ConEd said Wednesday in a statement. The company said potential thunderstorms in the coming days also threaten to disrupt power flow on overhead high-voltage transmission lines, causing outages.

Electricity demand on the state grid is projected to climb to nearly 29.3 gigawatts in the late afternoon, about 3% above Wednesday’s high, according to the New York Independent System Operator. Still, that’s well below the record high demand of nearly 34 gigawatts seen in July 2013. A gigawatt is enough to power as many as 1 million homes.

Heat warnings extend into the Canadian Maritime provinces, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

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