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New York City calls on households, businesses to cut power use amid heat wave

Highlights

Demand decreased by 263 MW in 30 minutes

Region's temperatures rise to record

Cooler weather expected over the weekend

New York City issued an emergency alert late June 30, urging electricity users to dial back consumption to avoid power failures as a heat wave, with temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, stressed the power grid.

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Consumers responded immediately, which quickly reduced power demand.

At about 4:30 pm, the City of New York issued an alert to city residents' mobile devices calling for reduced power use, which coincided with peak power demand for the day of 10,411 MW in New York Independent System Operator Zone J.

Within about 30 minutes after the alert was issued, power demand fell by 263 MW.

"I'm asking every New Yorker to be a part of this, turn off anything you don't need to be on right now," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference, according to local press outlet Spectrum News.

"If you can wait until tomorrow to use certain appliances, wait. This is what we have to do," de Blasio said.

Specifically, the alert said "Conserve Energy: NYC is urging all households and businesses to immediately limit energy usage to prevent power outages as the intense heat continues. Please avoid the use of energy-intensive appliances such as washers, dryers, and microwaves. Limit unnecessary use of air conditioning."

It is not clear if the city coordinated with the electric and gas utility Consolidated Edison or NYISO. The New York City Mayor's Office and Con Ed did not return requests for comment.

Earlier in the day, Con Ed sent out a statement calling for people to reduce power consumption.

The utility asked its 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County to "conserve energy and help keep service reliable, as the intense heat and humidity continue for a fourth straight day," the statement said.

"The increased amount of power flowing through the system causes cables and other equipment to get hot and can lead to outages," Con Ed said.

The company projected that power demand within its system would reach 12,300 MW, exceeding last year's peak of 11,740 MW.

Con Ed also said it reduced voltage by 5% in certain areas, activated its demand response programs that offer incentives to customers who have signed up to conserve electricity during high-demand periods, and deployed generators.

Thousands of customers in the city's five boroughs lost power during the heat wave, the utility said.

It appears there are opportunities to increase demand response in New York.

"The NYISO has about a 1 GW of demand response they contract and pay to be available during the summer," Elta Kolo, vice president at investment firm Huck Capital, said in a July 1 email.

"That dip in the demand yesterday did not come from these contracted entities but from nudging of concerned customers to help the grid," Kolo said, adding "these customers can be engaged in more thoughtful ways and in turn get compensated by the utilities and by the system operator to manage the grid. This creates visibility and security for both the system operator and the utility."

"New York is in the midst of a smart meter rollout, which is a fantastic time to initiate a behavioral demand response program and enroll customers as they do the smart meter installations; this has been done before and very successfully," she said.

Power prices, hot weather

Real-time power prices at the time of the alert were above average but not as high as earlier in the week, when prices reached slightly above $200/MWh at about 3:45 pm June 28. Wholesale power prices at about 4:40 pm June 30 were $94.20/MWh in NYISO Zone J and $123.31/MWh in Zone K Long Island, according to NYISO data.

NYISO Zone J day-ahead on-peak power prices averaged $28.41/MWh in May.

Multiple locations broke daily temperature records across the US Northeast as highs lingered 10-20 F above average, according to AccuWeather.

Boston and Newark, New Jersey, broke or tied high-temperature records June 28, 29, and 30, AccuWeather added.

Newark posted a high of 102 F June 29 and 103 F June 30, the weather forecasting company said.

New York City's high temperature for the week topped out at 98 F.

Cooler weather is expected to temper Northeast US power demand and prices heading into the weekend.

"After several days of hot weather, with records breaking, a cold front will continue to progress slowly southeastward through the weekend for cooler weather," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Matt Rinde said in the report.