Heat wave strains power grid

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(Host) Electricity demand is skyrocketing across New England today. As people escaped the heat in air-conditioned buildings, the operators of the New England power grid issued a plea for the public to conserve energy.

Ellen Foley is the spokeswoman for the organization that operates the grid for this region. She says grid operators brought in emergency electricity from New York this afternoon:

(Foley) “Electricity demand on the power system across New England is truly driven by weather. And as we have seen today with the fourth day of the heat wave, we have broken the record for all-time electricity usage.”

(Host) As power demand rose, wholesale prices soared for electricity. But the state’s largest utility has a surplus of power and managed to take advantage of the market. Steve Costello is a spokesman for Central Vermont Public Service.

(Costello) “It’s definitely a better situation than being short. Anybody who is short today is paying dearly for it. Power prices have been all over the map today, starting out relatively low. By 10:30 a.m., we were seeing prices around $100 a megawatt and they were climbing pretty steadily ever since.”

(Host) Utility officials, who plan for peaks in demand like this one when they set their rates, expect the system to be strained through the week. Cooler weather is forecast by the weekend.

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