Temps power peak

Temperatures could break records again early next week, weather forecasters say.

So power company officials will be asking people to conserve electricity as they crank up their air conditioners in response to predicted triple-digit highs.

Power usage reached an all-time high two days in a row this week, but Sierra Pacific Power Co. spokesman Gary Aldax said no records were set on Wednesday.

"We set a record Monday, then broke that record Tuesday. But at this point it doesn't look like there will be any peaks today," Aldax said Wednesday. "The last record was set last July."

The power company reached a record system total of 1,644 megawatts at 3 p.m. Tuesday, exceeding Monday's peak of 1,619 megawatts. One megawatt will power approximately 600 homes and businesses.

The increase, according to Sierra Pacific, was due to use of air conditioning equipment during the heat wave as well as customer growth in the company's service area.

Sierra Pacific serves approximately 325,000 customers in Northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California.

Wednesday's temperatures reached 100 degrees in Carson City, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters predict a break for the electricity supply, saying residents should expect partly cloudy skies today and Friday with a small chance of thunderstorm activity. Highs should remain below the 100-degree mark throughout the weekend.

Though officials aren't calling it a heat wave, temperatures are expected to climb again Monday as a ridge of high pressure moves in.

The power company asks residents to voluntarily reduce their electricity use and help prevent a "red alert" -- a condition requiring involuntary rotating outages.

Sierra Pacific suggests customers reduce monthly electricity costs by cooking outside to stay cool. Using an outdoor grill lowers the heat produced in a home and reduces the load on an air conditioner.


- Wear loose fitting clothes, open collars and open-weave materials that allow your body heat to escape. Natural fibers, such as cotton, work better than synthetics in absorbing perspiration and allowing it to evaporate.

- Keep the air circulating. Even a small portable fan can make you more comfortable at a low-energy cost. Electric fans are cheaper to run than air conditioners.

- Set controls on air conditioner between 78 and 80 degrees when at home; 5-10 degrees warmer at night or when you're not home.

- If your air conditioning unit is located on the ground, keep the area around it clean and free of obstructions to maintain airflow. Keep outdoor condenser coils clean and be sure to change your air conditioning filters.

- Turn off lights and appliances when they're not in use, including your computer.

- Close blinds and drapes during the day to keep the heat out.

- Use your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer as late in the evening as possible. Run full loads. Also, use the energy saver feature on your dishwasher which allows dishes to air dry. When they're on, appliances generate heat. Turning them off saves air conditioning energy.

-- If a room, such as a spare bedroom is not in use, don't cool it more than necessary. If you have central air conditioning, close the air supply register in the room. Also, keep the windows closed, the blinds and shades closed and close the door to the room.


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