By Darrell Smith
For most people in North America, the summer of 2021 has been a hot one. In some regions, long standing heat records have been broken.
In looking at the chart created by the U.S. Energy Information Administration displayed here, we can see a steady upward progression of demand for electricity in just a matter of days! On the left side of the chart the lowest curve of the black line (total generation) is about 400,000 megawatts, and in just one week later, August 12, the line is hitting about 600,000 megawatts. That's a 50 percent jump in one week!
If electricity demand keeps trending like this, it appears certain that utility companies may not be able to meet the demand. Nationwide about 87 percent of homes have air conditioning. If utilities cannot meet the demand they have to arrange for reduced output, sometimes called 'brownouts'. This is when at certain periods in the day there is a purposeful restriction in voltage coming into a home, so lights may be dimmer and the AC system may take longer to cool. Or worse yet, electricity is turned off for a short time.
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