As energy demand rises during summer, here are tips to cut back on electricity use and preserve the grid

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 18:05:15-04

NORFOLK, Va. - No one wants to experience a power outage, but when it does happen, it's normally when you least expect it. It tends to be common during the summer months when power is in high demand.

"Certainly, this is a peak demand period for us when the temperatures soar as high as they have,” Paula Miller, senior communications specialist with Dominion Energy, said.

The 2021 summer season has seen a number of power outages across the country. More people have turned to their air conditioners and other electronics.

In Hampton Roads, Miller said the local grids can handle the summer energy demand.

“Our generation sources and our power stations are in good shape,” Miller explained, “so we can meet the demand that's anticipated during these peak periods like summer."

She added the energy company continuously inspects, maintains and upgrades its grid.

A report from Lewis University in Illinois explained that electric grids get stressed with that demand. It states power lines already get hot, and if one line fails, then the others have to pick up the slack until they can't anymore, leading to power outages.

Miller offered suggestions to cut back on power usage, which she said can also save money.

"Adjust your thermostat. It's the number one way to conserve energy in the summer. The EPA recommends that 78 degrees is a good temperature, especially when you're away from you're home,” Miller advised. "Close your blinds. Sunlight shining through the windows can account for up to 40% of unwanted heat gain and can force the air conditioner to work two to three times harder."

Related: Is your AC unit operating normally? Techs urge inspections to prevent stress, wear and tear

Cutting back energy is not just limited to appliances. Miller recommended making sure electronics such as cellphones are not plugged in if not needed.

"It makes sense to do your dishes or laundry in the evening hours. That will reduce the heat and humidity that are added to your home."

She says it just takes a moment to make those changes to get those savings on your bill and the grid.