Dominion Virginia Power urges customers to stay safe in the heat and to use electricity wisely as regional temperatures and humidity are expected to remain extremely high today and Tuesday, forecasted to top 100 degrees in some locations.
Dominion Generation, the unit of Dominion that operates its power stations, and PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization, project that there will be adequate supplies of electricity and transmission capacity to meet anticipated demand. However, customers are always encouraged to use electricity wisely and take measures that allow them to save money while remaining safe and comfortable.
Dominion Virginia Power's customers are expected to demand almost as much electricity today as they did on Aug. 8, 2007, when they set the peak demand record of 19,688 megawatts.
The company is urging all residents -- especially the elderly and young children -- to take precautions when going out in the heat and to limit outdoor activities. Customers with special needs -- particularly elderly and ill persons without air conditioning who are most vulnerable to the effects of extreme temperatures and high humidity -- should be checked on frequently.
To help lower electric bills and energy usage while keeping homes comfortable, Dominion urges everyone to:
- Schedule activities that require hot water -- such as washing dishes or clothes -- for the early morning or late evening. This will avoid adding more heat and humidity to your home.
- Avoid using your stove if possible.
- Raise the temperature setting on the thermostat. You can save significantly by keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher.
- Use ceiling fans and portable floor fans to move the air around in the home. If the home does not have air conditioning, fans are essential for cooling. In homes with air conditioning, fans enable residents to raise the temperature and save energy without affecting comfort.
- Turn off unnecessary lights during hot weather. They add to the heat in the home. Consider switching to cooler, energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs where light is needed.
- Close drapes during the hottest times of the day to block heat from entering the home. Sunny windows account for a significant amount of unwanted heat and make air conditioners work much harder.
- Make sure window air conditioners are sized correctly. Ones that are too small will run constantly but not cool the room; ones that are too large use more energy than necessary.
- Clean filters to window air conditioning units and clean or replace filters to central air-conditioning systems. Clogged filters cause air conditioners to use more energy than necessary to keep a home cool.
- Clear attic vents. If the home has an attic fan, make sure it functions properly.
Customers going out in the heat should drink plenty of water and limit outdoor activities. To stay safe in hot weather, Dominion urges everyone to:
- Avoid strenuous outdoor activity. If you must work outside, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids. Do not wait until you are thirsty.
- Stay indoors in a cool place, especially during the afternoon when temperatures are highest.
- If you must go outdoors, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Try to wear natural products such as cotton and avoid synthetics.
- Be especially sensitive to pets, allowing them to stay inside as often as possible and keep them hydrated with plenty of water.