A hot summer coming, expect higher air conditioning electric bills
CLEVELAND, Ohio — You can expect a hotter than normal summer and higher electric bills if you use air conditioning. But you won’t have to worry about brownouts.
Much of the eastern United States will see more 90-degree days than typically occur, AccuWeather predicts in its annual summer forecast issued Wednesday.
The forecast agrees with the U.S. Climate Prediction Center which currently sees warmer than normal temperatures this summer and well into the fall.
Heat and dryness are expected to be a problem across the Midwest, said Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather long-range forecaster. But Ohio may escape some of the hottest weather to the east and the driest conditions to the west, he added.
“In the cities, energy use will be high, no matter what,” he said. “You will be using more energy to cool your home this summer.”
Down on the farm, there is a good chance they will also see problems that could decrease corn production when fall arrives.
“We think June [in Ohio] will be hot and dry,” Pastelok explained. “That could affect growth in Ohio’s corn-growing regions. But the crucial month may be July when weather patterns [typically] change and storm fronts are more active.
“If you don’t get rain in July, there will be a lot more 95-degree days and crops will be stressed. Farther north and west of Ohio there will be a greater chance of heat and dryness,” he said.
About 27 percent of Ohio’s corn planting has already been done, a little higher than usual, he said, and that may help.
What’s happening this week in Alberta, Canada, is a bad sign. The dry spring has led to forest fires.
“They have already had a 90-degree day up there. Eventually, the weather there will affect the Great Lakes region and Ohio. That is where the heat will come from,” he said.
In the meantime, fickle May weather may have a surprise about the middle of the month — frost. A cold front that AccuWeather is tracking to arrive here about May 14 or 15 could include a couple of frosty mornings.
This week’s rains may prevent frost, Pastelok added, because frost is less likely to occur over wet ground.
PJM Interconnection, which manages the high-voltage electric grid supplying power to more than 61 million consumers in Ohio, 12 other states and Washington, D.C., delivered a bit of good news this week.
PJM predicted peak demand will be about 6 percent higher than a year ago.
The non-profit grid manager is predicting that total demand will peak at 152,131 megawatts. One megawatt, or 1 million watts, is enough electricity to power 800 to 1,000 homes. Last summer, PJM recorded peak demand on July 28 at 143,500 megawatts.
PJM noted in its forecast that power plants in the region have a total capacity to generate 183,912 megawatts. The company also has “demand response” contracts with large power users who are ready to stop using power during an emergency. Demand response contracts this year total 8,700 megawatts.