NY1 Exclusive: Con Ed Command Post Plans For Heat Wave
As the heat index reached 109 degrees on Thursday, Con Edison reported only limited outages, but dozens of air conditioners stopped working in one section of the city on purpose as part of a new program that has the potential to prevent widespread blackouts and save customers money. NY1’s Josh Robin filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Across the parched city, millions of air conditioners hummed as the heat wave continued Thursday, but some Lower East Side co-ops fell silent.
For a few hours during the hottest part of the day, a few hundred window units shut down. They were controlled from a single laptop.
"You can see a sharp drop where the air conditioners were actually turned off," said Annette Bellafiore of ThinkEco, Inc, pointing to a graph of energy usage.
Bellafiore works for a Con Ed contractor that killed the juice.
"It is a little strange, but we do tell people in advance," said Bellafiore.
In fact, the participating homeowners signed up for it.
They get a break on their bills, and the program allows them control their own air conditioner, too, from a computer or even a smartphone.
Instead of leaving their air conditioners on all day, they can fire them up just before leaving work.
From Con Ed's point of view, the technology may one day allow an outlet-by-outlet grip of containing power.
It already has remote shutoff power for thousands of central a/c units, but not with their workhouse cousins: window units.
"We have about six million window air conditioners in Con Edison's service territory, and it represents about 25 hundred megawatts of that load, so it is a sizeable chunk of our peak load in the summer," said Vicki Kuo of Con Edison.
The brutal temperatures have pushed power use to near-maximum capacity, and that's led to calls from Con Ed for New Yorkers to limit their electric consumption.
They have even set up a heat wave command post at Con Ed headquarters.
"Although we had a tough summer last year with 37 days over 90 degrees, none of them got to this level, so we're gonna be in new territory," said John Miksad, senior vice president of electric operations at Con Ed.
While the power flowed without many hiccups Thursday, the room seemed to pulse with low voltage jitters. After all, one mistake could send New York into the dark.
"I'm always nervous," said Miksad.