FirstEnergy Utilities says its utility subsidiaries are ready to meet the anticipated increase in consumer energy demand due to heat waves this summer.
Samuel Belcher, senior vice president of FirstEnergy Utilities, said: "Our comprehensive system inspections and maintenance programmes help ensure system reliability when temperatures climb to 90 degrees and customers depend on us to stay comfortable.
"From western Ohio to the New Jersey shore, our electric system is designed and maintained to operate safely and effectively even in extreme weather conditions."
Grid inspection initiatives will include:
- The use of "thermovision" cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with electrical equipment in substations and on poles
- Helicopter patrols to inspect transmission lines
- The utility will increase the number of staff available to attend customers and localised power outages
In addition, First Energy has provided customers with recommendations to avoid straining the grid and they include:
- Setting thermostats as high as comfort will allow. Every degree a customer can increase the temperature in their home will result in using about 3 percent less energy during the hottest summer days.
- During sunny weather, close drapes or blinds on windows facing the sun to prevent direct radiant heating from impacting interior temperatures.
- Use fans – moving air cools skin faster, resulting in greater comfort on hot days.
- Use a programmable thermostat to keep temperatures higher when no one is home, and to reduce the temperature before arrival back home.
- Only operate window air conditioners when someone is in the room.
- Keep refrigerators and freezers as full as possible. Frozen or cold items in the refrigerator help keep other items cool, reducing the amount of work the refrigerator has to do to maintain a lower temperature.
- Close rooms that aren't used regularly during the summer and close the air conditioning vents in those rooms.
- Avoid using heat-producing appliances during the hottest hours of the day. The less heat produced at home, the less work the air conditioner will do.
- Consider investing in ENERGY STAR appliances or heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. FirstEnergy's utilities may offer rebates on these purchases and tax deductions may apply, as well.
- Check air conditioner and furnace fan filters. Clogged filters waste energy and money by forcing HVAC systems to work harder than necessary.
Subsidiaries of FirstEnergy Utilities are Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison, Jersey Central Power & Light, Metropolitan Edison , Pennsylvania Electric Company, Pennsylvania Power and West Penn Power, Mon Power, and Potomac Edison.