- Record temperatures mean millions of Americans are receiving warnings of rising temperatures.
- Blackouts occur in many states due to high energy consumption and demand.
- Energy companies encourage residents to conserve energy when they can handle emergencies.
Severe early summer temperatures are challenging the power of electricity and networks across the country as warnings of blackouts and calls for energy conservation continue to grow.
As temperatures rise, the risks of power outages increase. Warmer weather means higher electricity consumption as people turn to devices such as air conditioners and fans to try to cool their homes and offices.
A May report from the nonprofit North American Electrical Reliability (NERC) predicted a “high risk of power emergencies during peak summer conditions” in the upper Midwest.
“We’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years. Perhaps this is one of the darkest pictures we’ve painted in a while,” said Jon Mora, Director of Reliability Assessment and Performance Analysis at NERC CBS.
Reuters reported that several states — including Nebraska, Wisconsin, Mississippi and others — will see an increase in the heat index in June. For states like Texas, this means an increase in electricity consumption uncharacteristic of the early summer months.
The Texas Electrical Reliability Council, which manages the state’s electric grid, in a May news release urged residents to conserve electricity by avoiding the use of large appliances and to set their thermostats at at least 22 degrees during peak hours to meet standard electricity demands.
The weakness of Texas’ power grid is a concern after winter storms in 2020 and 2021 that led to fatal blackouts. The focus is now on drought, wildfires and heat waves that have “overwhelmed some of the country’s infrastructure”. CNBC reports.
Although NERC rates the Midwest as high-risk, the West Coast is also close to a high-risk area: California, Arizona, and Nevada are categorized as high-risk. And while electric utilities try to find alternative sources of power, they are unable to replace old generators fast enough, according to CBS.
In Cleveland, residents complained of a blackout that occurred as electricity demand exceeded the amount produced in June. Cleveland Public Power, an organization that supplies energy to Ohio, attributes the blackout to hot weather conditions.
To stem power outages and keep residents safe, the city began setting up cooling centers across the city after issuing a heat warning last week, according to local news reports. Other major cities such as Chicago and Detroit also rely on cooling centers to counteract the heat.
– Cleveland Public Power (clepublicpower) June 16, 2022
Extreme weather conditions are a common factor in power grid problems across the country. Hurricanes, floods, and storms have caused thousands of energy losses in recent years as these natural disasters continue to grow. CNN reported.
“Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heat waves around the world, increasing the gradient toward warmer temperatures,” CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.
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