With summer’s heat soon to be arriving in the region, Public Service of New Hampshire is letting customers know the company is prepared for the traditional spike in electricity use. As higher temperatures prompt increased use of air conditioning in homes and businesses, demand for electricity across the region is at its highest during the summer months. PSNH is in the final stages of its annual preparations to ensure it will once again meet this summertime demand for power.
“We work year-round to make our system stronger, but we have a particular focus on the summer season and prepare for it well in advance,” noted Jim Eilenberger, PSNH Director – Energy Delivery. “Our goal is to strive for greater system reliability and thereby reduce the possibility of service interruptions for our customers, especially during the hot summer months when our system is pushed to its limits.”
New Hampshire has transitioned to a ‘summer peaking’ state over the last decade, as customers rely more on air conditioning units. In order to accommodate an increasing peak demand – the total amount of energy a customer or group of customers is consuming simultaneously – the company has replaced certain equipment, such as electrical transformers, with larger units that will reduce the likelihood of equipment overloading.
Preparations also include aerial and ground level infrared surveys of transmission lines and electrical substations, in order to test and verify the integrity of the electric system and help identify potential trouble spots. The surveys provide an opportunity to repair equipment at risk of failure, and avoid problems before they occur.
Energy is required to power the air conditioners and fans that are relied on during the summer months, and PSNH’s diverse portfolio of power generation facilities is prepared. The company owns and operates facilities that are capable of producing more than 1,100 megawatts of energy, including Northern Wood Power, a highly-efficient biomass boiler at Schiller Station in Portsmouth that was successfully overhauled recently. Northern Wood Power began operations in 2006 and is capable of powering about 50,000 homes. By permanently replacing a coal boiler of similar size, the boiler reduces air emissions by more than 400,000 tons annually.
What you can do right away to keep energy use down now and throughout the summer:
Keeping the heat out and the cool in –
Sunlight shining in windows adds unwanted summer heat to homes, making it harder to keep indoor air cool. Using blinds, shades or drapes to block the sun can help. And, even without air conditioning, most homes will stay cooler if the windows are closed during the hottest part of the day. Simply close them early and open them again when the outside temperature drops.
Air conditioners work best in the shade –
If possible, keep room air conditioners out of the sun. They run much more efficiently when kept cool. Installing one in a north-facing window is usually ideal.
Raising the temperature lowers the bill –
Keeping air conditioner thermostats set at a moderate temperature saves energy and money. Because air conditioners also remove humidity from the air, they’ll help keep you cool even with a higher temperature setting.
It’s a great time to cook outside –
Cooking indoors will heat your home, cooking outdoors won’t. Today’s gas grills are more than just a way to cook traditional summertime favorites – they make great ovens, too. A closed lid and a properly adjusted temperature can result in a perfectly cooked meal. Many grill manufacturers even list the optimal settings and provide easy recipes right in the owner’s manual.
Fridges and freezers are big-time energy users –
To make the most of your energy dollars, be sure to vacuum their coils regularly, close their doors quickly, and keep them well-stocked. Using jugs of water is a perfect low-cost option to fill empty space. Old refrigerators and freezers typically use three times more electricity than today’s energy-efficient models. If that extra fridge or freezer in the basement isn’t really needed, consider unplugging it for extra savings.
Conserving energy –
It’s always best to shut lighting and appliances off when not needed. Incandescent lights, when on, add heat to your home. Turning lights off when they are not needed will help keep your home cooler.
In addition to these tips, be sure to consider the various energy saving lighting and products that are available for purchases through our online catalog at Catalog.NHSaves.com.