Two major utilities told customers to cut back late Saturday amid the holiday weekend’s punishing sub-freezing temperatures and strain on demand.
Con Edison and National Grid issued alerts late on Christmas Eve calling for cutbacks in gas and electricity use for New York customers.
“The conservation advisory covers Con Edison’s 1.1 million natural gas, 3.5 million electric and Manhattan steam customers and will remain in effect until further notice,” the Con Edison notice said.
Temperatures plunged into the single digits on Saturday, wreaking havoc on many New Yorkers trying to dry out or shovel out Friday’s winter storm. The sudden drop in degrees is putting a strain on utilities in addition to the increased demand for natural gas, Con Edison said.
The companies hope that a voluntary reduction can help keep the lights on.
Con Ed offered the following conservation tips:
- Set thermostats to the lowest comfortable temperature. Every degree lower reduces energy use and lowers heating costs.
- Only use appliances as needed. Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. Turn off TVs, computers and other appliances that are not in use.
- Wait to use appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers until the preservation request has been lifted, if possible.
- Make sure that the heating vents are not blocked by furniture, carpets or anything else that could impede the flow of heat.
The National Guard had these proposals for gas reduction:
- Turn the thermostat down just five degrees for homes if you are at home, and to 60 degrees if you are not at home or running a business.
- If possible, avoid using fireplaces, tumble dryers and other appliances that use gas that are not critical to safety or health.
“Ensuring safe and reliable service for our customers and the communities we serve is our number one priority and concern,”[ads1]; said Ross Turrini, CEO of National Grid.
National Grid’s request for energy reduction goes out to its 1.9 million customers in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island through Christmas afternoon.
Curbing energy use is voluntary and questioned for non-essential needs; neither company is asking to sacrifice safety during the current cold situation.