Orlando shatters energy consumption amid scorching heat

A record-breaking Monday followed by a record-shattering Tuesday.

The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) said electricity demand on its system hit two all-time highs this week as temperatures soared outside.

On Monday evening, the company recorded an output of 1233 megawatts in the Orlando area.

Then, just after 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, The News Station was in the OUC control room as its board hit 1245 megawatts for the first time - ever.

And, officials in the room said there was potential it could go higher.

For context, people in the control room said their average demand on a summer day in Orlando is in the 1190-1200 range.

"You're seeing it right now, in real time, the highest numbers we've ever seen in our company's 96-year history,” said OUC Spokesman Tim Trudell.

Trudell said the high numbers aren’t a concern for OUC in terms of operations. 

He said their systems are designed to handle that kind of power demand, and their technicians are trained to handle it as well.

They are a bit worried about their customers though.

Trudell said those high numbers mean high numbers on customers’ energy bills next month.

"We don't want them to get sticker shock when they see their bill at the end of the month,” he said. "They may not be thinking. They're just thinking, 'Oh, it's extremely hot outside. I need to crank that thermostat down.' But doing that really translates to some high energy bills."

OUC passed along the following recommendations to soften the blow of the heatwave on your bill:

•    Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, although some customers may need to keep the temperature a little cooler. Each degree you raise the thermostat above 78 degrees will save between 6 to 8 percent on the cooling portion of your bill.

•    Replace air filters monthly or as recommended by the manufacturer.

•    Use shades, drapes and blinds to keep the sun and heat out, especially on the east and west windows.

•    Use ceiling fans to feel cooler, but turn them off when you leave the room. And, set them in a counter-clockwise direction.

•    Caulk and place weather strips around leaky windows and doors.

•    Wash only full loads in dishwashers and clothing washers.

•    For washing machines, use cold water because it save up to 90 percent of the energy.

•    Clear your dryer vent regularly to prevent fires and improve efficiency.

•    Check your water heater temperature to ensure it is set to no more than 125 degrees; otherwise, you are wasting energy.