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National Grid crews on standby with system 'stressed'

Many Western New Yorkers are relying on air conditioning for relief from this weekend's heat wave. That high demand comes at a cost for the region's energy grid. National Grid says its system is built to deal with the high demand of days like Friday and Saturday, with high temperatures expected in the low 90s. But the company says the grid is "stressed" and it is asking residential customers to take steps to help reduce the risk of outages.

"What we do on days like today is we ask our customers to be sensible and smart about how they use electric energy," said National Grid regional director Ken Kujawa.

Kujawa says there are small steps residential customers can take to help reduce stress on the grid, including resisting the urge to lower a home's thermostat.

"With air conditioning, make sure that you're not turning the temperature down on your thermostat, but rather at least keep it steady. If you can notch it up a degree or two, that will keep the air conditioning unit from running nonstop during the day, which means its consuming less electricity," Kujawa said.

Kujawa suggests keeping blinds closed and lights off in your home, whenever practical, to keep it cooler. The company is also asking residents to put off the use of high-energy applicances like washers, dryers, dishwashers and pool filters until later in the day. Peak demand hours, Kujawa says, are from 3 to 7 p.m.

"Typically, during the middle part of the day and into the early evening hours is when temperatures are at their highest and that's when electricity consumption is at its highest. This is the point in time when we're most at risk in terms of putting pressure on our system," Kujawa said.

National Grid has additional crews on standby throughout the weekend in case outages do occur.


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