Crest of heat wave passing through Michigan, power conservation urged

Jul 21, 2011

Much of the state is under excessive heat warnings and air pollution alerts today as the peak of the Midwest heat wave passes over the state. The heat index (a measure of air temperature and relative humidity) has reached 110 in some areas.

According to Jeff Masters at wunderground.com, 22 deaths in the Midwest have been blamed on the heat wave and Detroit is expected to reach 100 degrees for the first time in sixteen years.

One death in Oakland County is being blamed on the heat and power companies are asking customers to cut back on their electricity usage.

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO), issued an energy conservation alert today because of high customer demand.

From Consumers Energy:

The heat wave is pushing customer demand for electricity toward record levels in the Midwest, prompting the region’s power coordinator to issue an energy conservation alert through tonight.

Consumers Energy and other Midwest utilities are asking customers to take immediate steps to reduce their use of electricity to help maintain the stability of the electric system.

Utilities are asking customers to do the following:

  • Raise the temperature setting on air conditioning thermostats by several degrees.  A setting of 78 degrees provides comfort and energy efficiency.
     
  • Use the clothes washer, clothes dryer, dishwasher, electric oven, and any other high-consumption electric appliances early in the morning or after 8 p.m.
     
  • Open the refrigerator or freezer as little as possible.
     
  • Turn off all unnecessary lights and non-essential appliances during the day.
     
  • Close off air ducts to rooms which are not used.  Close window curtains and drapes to reduce solar heating.
     
  • If you have a well pump, don’t water lawns.

Cooling centers are offering extended hours.

From the Associated Press:

A suburban Detroit cooling center has extended hours as the area heads into what is expected to be the hottest day of a weeklong heat wave that pushed Michigan temperatures into triple digits.

Ferndale Recreation Director Julie Hall says the Kulick center housed numerous senior citizens overnight after their nearby apartment building lost electricity and air conditioning.

Temperatures soared Thursday afternoon to 100 degrees or more in several communities across southeast Michigan. Temperatures are expected to dip a bit heading into the weekend.

Lisa Blumentritt spent Wednesday night in her third-floor apartment despite the lack of power and says it was "difficult to breathe."

She joined more than a dozen other seniors Thursday to wait out the hot weather in the cooling center.