Heat Puts Strain on Electricity | VideoJennifer Joas | 7/12/2012
The heat and humidity have some people doing anything they can to beat the heat, and that includes bumping up the air conditioning.
"When you get that kind of heat and humidity, you`re going to get a pretty typical increase in the amount of power demand. It`s really similar to winter, when it gets really cold your natural gas use is going to go up," said Montana-Dakota Utilities Spokesman Mark Hanson.
MDU is estimating that its customer load is up by 45 percent compared to a day with high 70 degree temperatures. That extra demand would be enough to power an area like Bismarck-Mandan one and half times.
The system is built to meet peak demand, and MDU has already reached that upper level on a few hot days this summer. That means customers` bills are up too.
"We just got the bill yesterday and I can tell it`s up a little bit over last year but not horribly," said Bart Sorenson, who lives north of Bismarck
Another resident is keeping his electric bill down by installing a geothermal unit in his home.
"It works great. The geothermal unit keeps it at a nice even temperature. Our electricity use is down, so we appreciate that," said Jim Ringelman of Menoken, ND.
But if you`re like Sorenson, MDU has a few tips to help you keep the heat out and your air conditioning working effectively.
"Close their drapes or their blinds during the day to try and keep the sun out, try to use your stove or cook-top a little less because that just kind of provides heat in your home. And also try not to block your vents where air conditioning is coming out," Hanson said.
MDU services parts of North and South Dakota and Montana. The company has a high demand on the system throughout the whole region.
If the hot temperatures persist, MDU expects its demand to continue at peak levels.