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NV Energy ‘ready to handle’ power expectations for extreme heat

Updated July 13, 2023 - 3:11 pm

Ahead of an intense summer heat wave, NV Energy said Thursday that its system will be able to keep air conditioners running, even though demand for power could reach an all-time high.

“We are forecasting near record temperatures throughout the state, that includes the potential for 117 degrees in the Las Vegas area, and up to 106 in the Reno area,” Ryan Atkins, the utility’s vice president of resource optimization, said. “With those higher temperatures, there is additional strain on the power system throughout the entire West. But NV Energy wants customers to know we are fully prepared, and we’re ready to handle this heat.”

Temperatures in Southern Nevada are expected to reach over 110 degrees for several days in a row, and the National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the Las Vegas Valley that starts at 11 a.m. Friday and will last until 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 18.

Even with prolonged heat expected, NV Energy expressed confidence in its system.

“Everything is maintained and monitored year round, not just during this heat event,” Atkins said. “So we feel confident that our equipment will withstand the higher temperatures.”

If any power outages happen, Atkins recommends finding a place with air conditioning and checking the NV Energy app to ensure the outage is reported and to see any updates on when power could be restored.

NV Energy isn’t issuing a formal call for customers to cut back their energy consumption but Atkins said it does help to set thermostats to 78 degrees while at home and higher when away. People can also check NV Energy’s website which has energy saving tips.

Atkins said the utility expects it will need to buy about 25 - 30 percent of its total energy demand from the open market to meet its energy needs and demand could reach a near all-time high of 8,200 megawatts. Atkins said the utility is better handled to weather heatwaves this summer compared to last year.

“We have some additional capacity that’s come online since that time, our generating fleet is performing very well with all units available at this time, in addition to the extreme heat isn’t extending to the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “So that helps free up some additional supply in the market.”

Traveling in the heat

As the intense heat also could impact Nevada roadways, the Nevada Department of Transportation’s Freeway Service Patrol is available to help motorists who need assistance for overheated vehicles, blown tires and more. NDOT advises motorists to call *647 to receive free assistance and not call 911.

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com or on Twitter @seanhemmers34.

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