Can HECO handle the heat as demand for power hits record highs?

Local News

Many of our viewers have said they’ve been melting this week, and the readings show us why.

Hot temperatures across our islands combined with humidity feels like we’re swimming in triple-digit weather.

Hilo hit a record high Wednesday at 93 degrees, beating a mark set in 1987.

“It’s just hot,” said Kalihi resident Merelyn Lubong.

“We’re running like two window air conditioners and three fans… at the same time,” said Kaneohe resident John Scott.

The weather is causing many of us to crank up the air conditioning and fans, prompting Hawaiian Electric spokesman Darren Pai to report, “We’ve seen an increase in the demand for power. Actually over the last two nights, we’ve set new record highs for the year.”

HECO says the demand for power usually peaks at 1,000 to 1,100 megawatts, but on Monday and Tuesday nights, it peaked at more than 1,200 megawatts.

Two weeks ago, HECO had to ask customers to conserve power during peak hours, because muggy conditions increased the demand for power. So we wanted to know, could that happen again?

“We don’t expect that we’ll need to ask our customers to conserve power in a situation like that right now because we have enough generation available to meet the projected needs,” Pai said.

But if there is an unplanned loss of power, say a unit goes down, that could lead to a possible outage.

“Unforeseen circumstances do happen, emergencies do happen, so we’re keeping a close eye on our reserves to make sure we have enough to account for those situations,” Pai said.

HECO says it’s always a good idea for customers to use energy efficiently, since it affects their power bill. But limiting fans and air conditioners could be hard for some people.

“You can’t get out of the house without it. It’s hard to get dressed with the heat, everything’s just melting,” Lubong said.

“Are you worried at all about your power bill or is it worth it?” KHON2 asked.

“At this time, I’m not worried. You worry about it when you get it,” Scott said.

HECO said some power generating units are down right now but only for scheduled maintenance.

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