December 8, 2022
  • December 8, 2022

Puget Sound power companies don’t expect heat wave problems

By on June 25, 2021 0


(Puget Sound Energy via Twitter)

Entering a record-breaking heat wave this weekend, local utility companies aren’t predicting heat-related electricity issues like blackouts or brownouts.

These power outages can occur during episodes of extreme heat, when a power system is overwhelmed by air conditioner use, and when transmission lines collapse when overheated.

While Washington has the unofficial reputation of being the state where people don’t own air conditioners – because we don’t need them for most of the year! – Puget Sound Energy says that with the hot summers of recent years, more and more people are getting on the AC train.

“We see more and more customers adding air conditioners to their homes and energy use continues to increase each summer, depending on what we see,” said PSE spokesperson Andrew Padula.

Washington could experience the hottest day in state history in the coming days

Still, he said, they are ready to handle it.

“We do not foresee any type of blackouts,” said Padula. “Our system is currently functioning well and energy consumption is monitored 24 hours a day.”

Tacoma residents also don’t have to worry about losing power, according to Tacoma Power.

“Tacoma Power, along with other utilities in the Northwest, has assessed anticipated peak energy needs, and Tacoma has adequate capacity to meet our expected demand as well as contingency reserves,” the agency said. in a press release sent by email. “The historical peaks of summer events are around 660 MW, but we are expecting close to 760 MW. Tacoma Power does not anticipate downtime for our customers, but we are ready to respond if above normal temperatures cause a situation. “

And in the largest city of Puget Sound, Seattle City Light believes there should be no blackouts or brownouts.

“Seattle City Light expects us to have adequate resources to deal with the anticipated load increases associated with the heat wave,” the agency told KIRO Radio. “We do not anticipate any proactive downtime, but will monitor conditions and respond appropriately if an unexpected issue arises that could be mitigated by a change in operations. Given our robust system, we could probably do this without cutting power to any customer. “

Seattle City Light spokeswoman Michelle Vargo told a press conference that some power lines and transmission stations here may have to go out to avoid wildfires. Power lines have started wildfires during some heatwaves in California.

“The concerns about forest fires are real and we are working with all other utilities and monitoring government agencies that help us monitor conditions around our transmission rights-of-way,” Vargo said.

Vargo says all planned outages are reprogrammed so people have electricity for air conditioning and fans.

PSE isn’t too worried about power lines on the west side of the state, but it is carefully monitoring the lines it has in the Cascades, where the red flag fire warning has been issued.

“In Kittitas County, we have service areas there, and we’ll probably be watching that very closely,” Padula said. “But each situation is treated in a unique way. “

How to save energy during a heatwave

We can all do our part this weekend to reduce the impact on the grid and, as an added bonus, lower our electricity bills.

“We hope that our customers will conserve energy as a benefit to the system and their own comfort and energy consumption,” said Padula.

If you have air conditioning, set your thermostat to a high level – at least 75 degrees, Padula said. It may seem counterintuitive to set the heat higher than you would on a snowy day, but it helps the air conditioning not have to work as hard. Close blinds and windows to keep hot air out, but you can open windows for cross ventilation after dark.

If you don’t have air conditioning, use fans, but be sure to turn those fans off when you leave the room.

“Remember, these fans just cool you, not the room,” Padula said.

Only use appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines at night. Try making dinner later, use microwaves or toasters instead of the stovetop, or grill outside to avoid heating your home even more while you’re preparing food.

“Any kind of device that will generate heat is going to create more problems and make your home more warm,” said Padula.

Turn off the lights during the day, if you can. If you work from home and need the lights to be on, it helps to switch to LED bulbs to reduce the heat in the room.

For more tips on how to reduce energy, visit the PSE website.