In the 24 years Jim Lisowski has been at Chicopee Electric Light, they’ve never had a blackout. “We’ve built our systems to accommodate a load you would see with heatwaves. We’ve recently completed a 17 year reconstruction of our system and we’ve built a substation, we’re in the process of building another substation, so we have plenty of capacity,” he said.
Temps hit over 90 degrees Monday, and are expected to do so for the rest of the week, making for the potential of a 7 day heat wave.
Since ISO New England operates the region’s bulk power grid, it’s something they’re more than prepared for. As the grid’s system operator, they keep a close watch on it letting companies like CEL know when they should pull back on wattage. “We always have to balance supply and demand in real time. As a precautionary measure this morning, we did ask for some maintenance on generators and transmission lines across the 6 state regions to be postponed until the weather turns better,” said Ellen Foley, ISO New England Spokesperson.
Although demand is high, it won’t break the record the record of 28,000 megawatts like it did in August 2006.
To put it in perspective, as a city, Chicopee only draws about 100MW.
In the meantime, there are the usual things you can do to conserve some energy, and make sure your bill isn’t sky high; not running the dishwasher, turning your computer off when you’re not using it, and of course, raising the thermostat just a little on your air conditioner will help.