T&TEC: Heat causing historic spike in electricity demand in May

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

TTEC said power to Tobago was restored within minutes after a disturbance at the Cove Power Station, on Wednesday, led to a island-wide outage. – JEFF K MAYERS

Citizens are beating the heat with unprecedented electricity use with May recording the highest use to date.

In a statement on Thursday, the TT Electricity Commission (T&TEC) said it recorded continuous increases in electricity demand over the past two weeks with previous peaks being exceeded on five occasions.

T&TEC said on September 13 2023, it recorded the then highest consumer electricity demand of 1410 megawatts (MW). However, the month of May has surpassed that with peak demands of 1422 MW on the second, 1447.1 MW on the sixth, 1448 MW on the seventh, 1455.8 MW on the 13 and 1456.2 MW on the 15.

The TT Meteorological Service has announced that for the second quarter of the year, “Day and night temperatures are predicted to be above average for most of TT, with high (70 per cent) probabilities for short-duration hot spells from April to June.”

T&TEC said while it had more than enough installed capacity (2037MW) to meet the surge in demand for electricity, the increased demand had resulted in increased natural gas usage.

It noted that practicing conservation, once safe to do so, would therefore help to reduce the impact on the availability of natural gas.

T&TEC offered the following tips to manage electricity usage during soaring temperatures:

1. Raise the temperature on air conditioning units by a few degrees to minimise the load and use fans to maintain comfort since every degree of cooling increases energy use by six to eight per cent.

2. Shield the sun. Close window coverings like blinds and curtains to shield the sun’s rays so that your air conditioning unit does not work harder to keep your home cool.

3. Reduce water heating. Lower the temperature on the thermostat on your tank water heater, or turn it off intermittently as most outdoor water storage tanks will be sufficiently heated by the sun on very hot days. Avoid using hot water for laundry and doing dishes.

4. Unplug appliances when not in use to prevent energy wastage. Turning off the ceiling fan and lights before leaving a room for extended periods can help lower your energy usage. Switch to energy-efficient LEDs, which consume significantly less electricity and generate less heat.