ComEd is preparing the power grid for stress from extreme heat
Chicago (CBS) – Utility companies are preparing for high temperatures expected to affect electricity grids across the country.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina spoke to ComEd about the impact in the Chicago area.
ComEd spokespeople told CBS 2 they are prepared and have everything in place and ready to handle this heat wave. They shared information they said everyone needs for this week.
Excessive heat warnings mean excessive pressure on power grids across the country.
In Illinois, ComEd said it is ready to meet customer requests. The utility company activated the emergency preparedness center. The company will increase the number of employees to meet any needs at any time of the day.
“They will be operating 24/7,” ComEd spokeswoman Keisha Parker said.
ComEd has been improving the network since 2011 and has seen improvements in network reliability of about 80%, Parker explained. They said last year was their most reliable year yet.
“You have a lot more people running their air conditioners, and with the system working harder, it puts extra stress on that system,” she said. “That’s why it’s important from a resilience and resilience point of view to have a network that’s ready to withstand all the impacts it can receive.”
Last year, ComEd partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory Center for Climate Resilience and Decision Sciences as part of what it calls a long-term effort to understand the impact of climate change on power grids and operations.
“It really helped us understand more about how we would be better able to prepare for climate change,” Parker said.
The study’s analysis showed that “the region will experience more intense and longer-lasting heat waves in the summer months.”
The study suggests taking another look at equipment design to ensure it can handle temperature changes and increasing energy efficiency programs to relieve ongoing pressure on the grid. He offered more suggestions that ComEd is working on.
You can read the full study here.
ComEd also has several tips for customers on how to save energy during the upcoming heat wave.
Clear area around the cooling vents.
- Furniture, carpets, and other objects can block vents and prevent air from traveling. This blockage makes your cooling system work harder and prevents rooms from cooling quickly.
Use your windows to keep heat out.
- Close window coverings on the sides of your home where sunlight enters the most to prevent heat from entering through the windows.
Operate your thermostat efficiently.
- During the cooling season, set your thermostat to the highest temperature possible while maintaining personal comfort.
- If you won’t be home for more than 8 hours, consider raising the temperature by 7 to 10 degrees.
- Overnight, consider raising the temperature 3 to 4 degrees while you sleep.
Use fans and ventilation to cool your home
- If you use an air conditioner to cool your home, a ceiling fan allows you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees Fahrenheit without any decrease in comfort.
- Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind-chill effect.
- During warmer months, set your fans counterclockwise to push air toward the floor.
You can read more tips on ComEd’s website.
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