PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The heat wave is expected to put a strain on the power grid as people work to stay cool. Chances are you’re going to run your air conditioning unit this weekend, and the increased energy use can put a strain on the electrical system.
PGE estimates about 70% of homes in the Portland area have air conditioning, a marked increase from 20 years ago when only about 20% of homes had AC.
Even so, PGE officials said they’re not expecting any outages because of the heat but they will have crews on standby just in case.
Just like your car has to work harder to perform in high temperatures, so does the energy system, authorities said.
“The high temperatures are somewhat unusual for us. We know that extra strain on the system can cause extra stress on electrical equipment within our system,” said PGE’s Andrea Platt.
“This heat wave is unique in that it’s potentially record breaking, but it’s also kind of isolated to the Pacific Northwest,” said Pacific Power spokesperson Drew Hanson. “We have that ability to draw from other areas that aren’t experiencing this same heat wave that we’ll be under for the next few days.”
Both PGE and Pacific Power ask people to use energy efficiently to help reduce the strain on the system.
They recommend keeping your thermostat at 78 when you’re home and turning it up to about 85 when you leave.
“That way when you come back home you’ll turn it back down to 78 and your AC doesn’t have to work that hard to get back down to where it might be a little more comfortable for you,” Hanson said.