Very high temperatures in the upcoming days could cause blackouts in New York City, Washington and Chicago, experts warned USA Today on Wednesday.
Due to the heat wave, many more people are expected to use their air conditioners and for longer periods of time, which – combined with other factors – could overwhelm the demand for power, Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center co-director Prof. Jay Apt said.
New York City already suffered a widespread blackout last Saturday, although it was not blamed on the heat but due to a transformer fire, according to power company Con Edison, the New York Post reported.
The company said, after the cable caught fire, there was a series of failures of the protective relay systems.
Con Edison said is prepared for "scattered outages" this weekend, explaining Manhattan is served exclusively by underground delivery systems that heat up as the ground warms, in addition to the increased strain due to demand for more power.
The power company in the Washington area, which is also served primarily by underground systems, is preparing for similar difficulties, as are officials in Chicago.
The power companies said there are several ways people can reduce the use of power in their home, including using fans, keeping curtains and shades drawn, or only putting on the air conditioning in rooms that are actively being used.
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