New York Heat Wave Boosts Power Use as ConEd Faces July Curse

New York City’s history of mid-July blackouts will face a big test this weekend with power demand already at the highest so far this year and climbing.

Electricity demand rose to more than 7,500 megawatts in the city, with overcast skies and a muggy 77 Fahrenheit (25 Celsius) at 1:51 p.m.

With aheat wave rolling in, demand isforecast to rise as the heat climbs into the 90s over the next few days, and will peak at more than 10,000 megawatts on Monday evening, according to the state’s grid operator.

Consolidated Edison Inc. is gearing up for an expected surge in cooling needs, mobilizing repair crews in case overheated wires or downed lines knock out electricity, according to a statement.

The company doesn’t expect a repeat of last year’smid-July blackout, said spokesman Allan Drury.

A substation explosion and fire last year created a surge that triggered an outage, plunging a chunk of Manhattan and 72,000 customers into darkness for hours. That came on July 13, the 42nd anniversary of the historic 1977 blackout that left most of the city without power for days.

The conditions are different this weekend, with hot weather expected to drive up demand.

“That was an equipment failure,” Drury said by phone. “It was milder then.”

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