New York Heat Overburdens Utility as Authorities Urge AC Use

  • High may reach 96 degrees Fahrenheit and could feel like 108
  • Consolidated Edison faces electrical problems in several areas

The heat wave in New York is so bad that the local utility provider is having a hard time coping with surging electricity demand as air conditioners roar at full blast. Authorities are recommending New Yorkers keep them on.

The city’s high may reach 96 degrees Fahrenheit (36 Celsius) this Sunday, 13 above average, but humidity will make it feel as bad as 108 degrees, AccuWeather Inc. data show.

Consolidated Edison Inc. is asking New Yorkers to use fans instead of air conditioning as it struggles with electrical problems in several areas after demand reached a weekend record of 11,855 megawatts on Saturday. The National Weather Service, which put New York and other areas across the northeastern U.S. on an excessive-heat warning, has a different message.

“Use air conditioning to stay cool at home or go to a place that has air conditioning,” the weather service said in a warning to New Yorkers on its website. “Check on vulnerable friends, family members and neighbors.”

U.S. natural gas futures climbed Friday, bouncing back from a six-day decline, on forecasts the heat would stoke demand for the power-plant fuel. Gas demand for power generation has reached record levels.

Gas futures rose 3.5 cents, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $2.586 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday.

The New York Road Runners club warned members on its Facebook page not to try to complete their training runs this weekend. The group told members to run indoors or skip their long weekend runs.

Persistent Yogis

The heat wasn’t enough to stop some yogis in Long Island City, more than a dozen of whom were out on the pier overlooking Manhattan for a 10 a.m. class when the temperature approached 90 degrees.

Some businesses around Time Square were telling employees to turn off any unnecessary computers or electronic devices.

Ahmed Khan, a hot-dog cart vendor in Midtown Manhattan, will spend 12 hours out in the heat. This afternoon he plans to sell a lot of water, Gatorade and hot dogs, a light meal for people who’ve lost their appetite to the heat, he said. One customer buying a bottle of water from Khan said she’s not going to let the heat stop her from getting her New York shopping done while visiting from Hong Kong.

"It will be a difficult day, but business will be good," Khan said.

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