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CL&P preps for a hot summer

With summer’s heat having already arrived in the region, Connecticut Light and Power reports it is prepared for the traditional spike in electricity use.

As higher temperatures prompt increased use of air conditioning in homes and businesses, demand for electricity across the region is at its highest during the summer months. CL&P said it’s in the final stages of its annual preparations to ensure the electric delivery system will once again meet this summertime demand for power.

“While we work year-round to make our system stronger, the specific preparations for the summer months actually begin during the previous fall,” said Ken Bowes, vice president of Energy Delivery Services at CL&P. “This year, we’re investing about $30 million in our system for greater reliability and to reduce the possibility of service interruptions for our customers, especially during the hot summer months when our system is pushed to its limits.”

One step the company has taken is to upgrade underground systems that serve densely populated areas. CL&P also conducted helicopter infrared surveys of transmission lines and completed ground surveys of more than 200 electrical substations. These surveys test and verify the integrity of the electric system and help identify potential trouble spots.

In addition, work has been done to boost electric circuit capacity — increasing the ability to provide electricity to customers without compromising delivery equipment when temperatures and electrical demand are at their highest.

CP&P recommends that consumers follow these energy efficiency tips right away to keep energy use down now and throughout the summer.

• Sunlight shining in windows adds unwanted summer heat to homes, making it harder to keep indoor air cool. Using blinds, shades or drapes to block the sun can help. And, even without air conditioning, most homes will stay cooler if the windows are closed during the hottest part of the day. Simply close them early and open them again when the outside temperature drops.

• If possible, keep room air conditioners out of the sun. They run much more efficiently when kept cool. Installing one in a north-facing window is usually ideal.

• Keeping air conditioner thermostats set at a moderate temperature saves energy and money. Because air conditioners also remove humidity from the air, they’ll help keep you cool even with a higher temperature setting.

• Cooking indoors will heat your home, cooking outdoors won’t.  Today’s gas grills are more than just a way to cook traditional summertime favorites — they make great ovens, too. A closed lid and a properly adjusted temperature can result in a perfectly cooked meal. Many grill manufacturers even list the optimal settings and provide easy recipes right in the owner’s manual.

• Fridges and freezers are big-time energy users. Be sure to vacuum their coils regularly, close their doors quickly and keep them well stocked. Using jugs of water is a perfect low-cost option to fill empty space. Old refrigerators and freezers typically use three times more electricity than today’s energy-efficient models. If that extra fridge or freezer in the basement isn’t really needed, consider unplugging it for extra savings.

Enoch Lenge, CL&P’s energy efficiency expert, offers additional tips on saving energy and money in his monthly column on www.cl-p.com. Check out this month’s column, “Stay Cool with An Efficient Air Conditioner,” for information on buying an efficient air conditioner, preparing an existing system for summertime, and money-saving rebates.

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