TORONTO, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Although it's officially the first day of summer, the summer temperatures have been warming the city for weeks. The City of Toronto has issued a heat alert and Toronto Hydro-Electric System ("Toronto Hydro") reminds customers to stay safe and conserve where possible. Customers should be mindful of the higher on-peak price for electricity during weekday afternoons (11am to 5 pm).
Yesterday's peak was 4425 megawatts (MW) at 5pm. This is an increase of 448 MW over Monday, and we expect consumption to further increase today. One megawatt is equal to one million watts. Peak consumption in the City usually occurs in the late afternoon, when office towers are still busy, rush hour subway traffic is on the move, and commuters are arriving home and turning on the air conditioning and stoves.
Prolonged heat waves strain electricity distribution systems because overnight ambient air temperatures (that don't dip below 20 degrees C) do not allow transformers and cables to cool sufficiently. As well, flash thunderstorms and high winds can also damage equipment resulting in localized service interruptions.
When using the air conditioner, look for ways to reduce electricity demand and summer electricity bills.
Here are some tips on how to conserve electricity and save money while you're running your air conditioner:
- Cool your home or apartment over night, when hydro rates are lower. During the day, set the temperature at least one degree higher than you normally would. Turn it off when you're not at home OR use a programmable thermostat to turn the AC off (or up) during peak times.
- Use a ceiling or floor fan to supplement your AC, you can raise the temperature on your thermostat and feel just as comfortable.
- Keep doors and windows closed while the air conditioner is running.
- Keep window shades drawn during the afternoon to minimize the passive solar heating.
With TOU electricity rates in effect for the majority of Torontonians, customers should try to conserve and shift non-essential electricity use to off-peak times. Customers can log on to the Toronto Hydro TOU website at www.torontohydro.com/tou to see their usage on an hourly, daily and weekly basis.
For further information:
Tanya Bruckmueller, Toronto Hydro-Electric System