PECO, PPL set power usage records amid high heat

July 22, 2011 3:13:44 PM PDT
Both PECO and PPL announced new records for consumer power usage as the region baked under extreme heat.

PECO announced on Friday that usage peaked on at 6:00 p.m. Thursday at 8,943 megawatts.

Cathy Engel Menendez from PECO says, "Even though we break a peak you continue to see the system performing well. It really reflects the hard work that goes into the system all year long."

The old record was 8,932 megawatts set back in August 2006.

PPL, meanwhile, said is set a usage record of 7,622 Megawatts at 2:00 p.m. Friday. This breaks a usage record of 7,554 on August 1, 2006.

Each megawatt powers about 1,000 homes.

Like most consumers, high heat means a high electricity bill for Josephine Taylor of East Mount Airy. The kids soaked in the front yard pool on Thursday so she can ease up on the daytime air conditioning.

"It's too hot, so I just let them stay in pool and play a little bit," Josephine tells us.

PECO recommends setting your thermostat to 75 to 78 degrees, though it does depend on the home and who is inside it - like the elderly. Taylor normally sets hers to 75 but today made an exception.

"Because it's so hot today, I have it on 70."

By late Friday morning, tourists were out and about in Philly. Armed with umbrellas and jugs of water, a line formed early for the Liberty Bell.

Too polite to cut in line, some folks cut corners instead and just gazed at the bell through a window.

That comes as no surprise to the President and CEO of the Independence Visitors Center, James Cuorato, who says on days like today folks tend to stick to the air-conditioned tours and sites in the area.

"The advantage is that we have, at least for the historic area, is that you can find things to do, places to go. You don't want to be taking long walks in this heat," said Cuorato.

Sure enough, bus and trolley guides were expecting a busy day - especially with the pre-booked tours.

"We just try to make everybody comfortable. We joke about the heat," said Bob Lewinski of Philadelphia Trolley Works. "What else can you do about it?"