Electricity demand soars to record

First Energy adopted strategies to increase power supply and reduce demand.
YOUNGSTOWN -- First Energy, which includes Ohio Edison and Penn Power, saw record power demand as the temperature soared to 94 degrees Tuesday.
At 4 p.m., demand was 12,902 megawatts, surpassing Monday's record of 12,850 and the previous record of 12,700 in July 1999, according to Paul Harkey, Ohio Edison area manager.
The 94 degree high, reported at 5:13 p.m., was one degree shy of the area's record set in 1965, said meteorologist Michael Doll of WeatherData.
Today's high is forecasted for 86 degrees and drops to an 81 degree high on Friday. Scattered showers are expected for both days.
As was the case Monday, there were sporadic reports of power outages as the result of overloaded transformers and blown fuses, but fewer than 200 customers in the Youngstown-Warren area lost power, he said.
Sufficient power: Throughout the heat wave, power generation has been sufficient, and outages were caused by the shutdown of fuses and transformers in the distribution system. They are designed to do so to prevent permanent equipment damage, Harkey said.
Harkey said First Energy adopted several strategies to prepare for and cope with hot spells this summer:
U It asked some industrial customers to agree to an interruption in power Tuesday. Some industries get lower rates in exchange for agreeing to interrupt business during peak power demands. The power company also turned off lights and unused computers and reduced air conditioning in its offices.
U It has 120 megawatts of extra generating capacity for peak demand periods during heat waves from trailer-mounted, diesel-fueled generators, including six that operated Monday and Tuesday at Ohio Edison's Boardman substation on Southern Boulevard, each capable of producing 1.6 megawatts.
U It has installed 850 megawatts of peaking capacity from new natural-gas-fired turbines at power plants in Lorain and Defiance.
U It secured long- and short-term power contracts on the wholesale market to buy power from other utilities to meet peak demand.

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