High temps cause spike in energy use

High temps cause spike in energy use »Play Video
BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- While the heat advisory is still in affect, many people are clamoring to find some cold air.

Benton County PUD hit a new high for energy use in recent years.

Without a cloud in the sky, we're locked in with this sweltering heat.

"I can't remember it being this hot. It's not been this hot for a long time," says Patty Goodwin.

Patty has lived in Tri-Cities for her whole life.

It's easy to forget how oppressive triple digits really are. Apart from taking her grand kids to cool off at Columbia Park, she's staying inside.

"We turn up the A/C. Big time. Turned all the fans on, ceiling fans -- all the fans. Every room, just to keep it cool," she added.

And she wasn't alone. Monday night, Benton County PUD set a record for the amount of energy used because of the influx of people trying to stay cool.

"This peak represents a 410.785 mega watts of electricity used through out Benton PUD's service territory," says Evan Edwards, an engineer with the PUD.

He says more than 400 megawatts is a lot more than the 275 we average for this time of year. It's the highest energy use Evan has seen in years. But crews aren't worried about the risk of brownouts.

Benton PUD says they always buy more energy than they need, so people like Patty don't have to worry about there not being enough power to go around. Crews also say they use infrared cameras to make sure the systems are working as planned so there isn't a breakdown of the gear needed to get you that A/C.

Reporter: "Do you use your AC a lot? A little?"
Patty: "All night and all day. When it's this hot, you have to have it on all the time."

We tried getting energy use for Franklin County, but they didn't call us back. Even though Benton PUD is in no danger of running out of electricity, knowing your power use can save you money.

To conserve energy, close your blinds during the day and keep major appliances away from AC units.