WASHINGTON — The hottest temperatures in three years is expected to hit the D.C. area over the next several days. A heat advisory is in effect from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
With the dangerous heat comes the possibly of power outages throughout the area. No power means no air conditioning or ways for people to cool down with the heat index at or above 100 degrees for the rest of the week.
Due to the high demand for power used for air conditioning and cooling systems, it can be overwhelming and lead to power outages, according to Pepco Spokesperson Christina Harper. Pepco is a widely used utility company throughout the District.
Harper said the power company is preparing for power outages, but does not necessarily expect any to happen.
"We’re ready," she said. "We prepare daily and have been closely monitoring the heat wave.”
To prevent power outages and ways to stay cool during extreme temperatures, Pepco suggest the following tips:
- Turn off all unnecessary lighting and devices.
- Keep thermostats at a constant, comfortable 78 degrees when you're at home.
- Make sure there is no furniture blocking ducts or fans. This helps cool air to circulate freely in your home.
- Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed. About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows.
- If you don't have an air conditioner, use ceiling fans to circulate air. If you have air conditioning, fans can be used to evenly distribute cool air.
- Run appliances that produce heat, such as the oven and dishwasher, at night when it is cooler.
“Our staff and crews are at the ready, preparing daily for potential system impacts and using best practices to increase reliability across our energy system,” said Tyler Anthony, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Pepco Holdings. “As temperatures climb, energy use typically climbs too. Just as we do our part, we ask customers to do their part to conserve energy and follow practical energy savings tips to help us ensure the clean, safe, reliable energy service that our customers expect.”
If a power outage does occur during extreme temperatures, here's some tips on how to stay cool:
- Keep all windows and doors closed. Try not to let any outside air indoors.
- Block out the sun by drawing blinds and pulling curtains closed.
- Take a cool bath or shower and allow yourself to air dry afterwards.
Other big cities could also experience power outages due to the extreme heat, including New York City. Over the weekend, a blackout darkened more than 40 blocks of Manhattan. Officials are still investigating what caused the power outage throughout the city.