Air conditioning companies in high demand even as National Grid asks customers to use less energy

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As more people are looking to beat the heat, air conditioning companies are working overtime. But at the same time, National Grid is asking some customers to avoid using too much electricity to avoid additional power outages.

In Kenmore, Hometown Heating and Cooling has seen a sharp increase in demand after a lull in business.

“We really had a lack of business due to [the coronavirus] and everything happening with COVIS-19,” said owner Scott Thur. “As soon as the heatwave hit I think everyone realized, number one, they were going to be stuck in their house and needed air conditioning, and, number two, the heat was just unbearable.”

Thur says the company’s phones have been ringing off the hook. But this isn’t unusual – in fact, he says they’re prepared for the spike in business each time the thermometer spikes.

“I’ve been in the industry for just about 10 years, and when I started, heating season was the go-to season in this industry,” Thur explained. “Within the past three or four years, the demand in air conditioning has almost surpassed the demand for heating.”

But this jump in air conditioning use may be to blame for power outages. Both Monday and Tuesday, thousands of National Grid customers were left in the dark and the heat due to equipment failure.

This led the company to ask the roughly 7,000 households affected to hold off on certain activities – like using the pool filter or washer and dryer – while they worked on the needed repairs.

“Sometimes electricity loads on a hot day like the day we had yesterday or having again today can certainly be a factor in a transmission or distribution line not working,” said National Grid spokesman David Bertola.

According to Bertola, crews are constantly keeping track of the weather in order to make sure they’re prepared for additional power outages – especially since this hot weather seems like it’s sticking around.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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