Are New Jersey utility companies ready for this weekend's scorching heat? We asked

·3 min read

Serious heat is on its way to North Jersey, with temperatures forecast to be in the mid-90s on Saturday and Sunday.

For many, these upcoming high temperatures mean turning on the air conditioner for the first time this year. Could that put a strain on the power grid?

PJM, the regional transmission organization that operates a power grid that serves much of the mid-Atlantic, issued a hot weather alert for the region and said it expects the demand for electricity to go up this weekend.

To prepare for the increased demand, the company is planning to use equipment that would normally be offline during this time of year, in anticipation of the increased demand.

PSE&G, the largest utility in New Jersey, said it is prepared for the unpleasant weather weekend.

"[PSE&G] is prepared to meet the demand for additional power, and utility crews are ready to respond to service interruptions should they occur," spokesperson Rebecca Mazzarella said.

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Mazzarella said the utility company prepares for extreme weather year-round.

As the weather gets warmer, HVAC companies also need to be ready, as demand for air conditioning products goes up, too.

Chris Long, a branch manager for Ferguson, which sells cooling supplies, also said it is a year-round process to prepare.

"We always try to make sure we're stocked up on the needs of our customers," Long said.

Check your air conditioner's efficiency

Long said as the season begins to change, the company makes sure to stock up on service parts to make sure their customers' air conditioners work when the thermometer hits 90 degrees.

Though it's probably too late for this upcoming heat wave, as the summer approaches, Long said, it's important to do routine checks on air conditioners, to make sure they're working properly when you need them. He said many sellers offer maintenance agreements, so customers can have someone inspect it before it gets too hot.

"It's kind of like an oil change for your car," he said. "They'll come out, just make sure everything is up to date."

So if you have an air conditioner that you haven't used yet, you might want to test it out before the weekend, just in case.

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How to stay cool in the heat

PSE&G has tips for customers to stay cool while also saving money on their utility bills. Mazzarella suggested not using the air conditioners while the house is empty and replacing air filters monthly. Other tips from PSE&G include:

  • Sealing holes and cracks around doors and windows with caulk or weather-stripping.

  • Using a microwave or crockpot instead of the oven, or grilling outdoors

  • Operating appliances when it is cooler outside.

  • Running full laundry loads.

  • Washing laundry in cold water.

  • Closing blinds that face the sun.

  • Ceiling fans are cheaper than air conditioners.

Liam Quinn is a breaking news reporter for NorthJersey.com. To get breaking news directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.

Email: quinnl@northjersey.com

Twitter: @Liam_D_Quinn

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Hot weather in NJ could mean stretched power grid