Heat wave leads to record power use in U.S.

Many areas of the U.S. broke record highs for power use yesterday, as a coast-to-coast heat wave caused sweaty citizens to crank up the AC. Power grid operators are calling for conservation, and the utility industry is declaring a national need for more power plants and transmission lines. California used 46,561 megawatts of power yesterday, breaking last year’s one-day record high of 45,431 MW. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) ordered state offices to reduce power use during peak hours for the rest of the week by turning off unneeded lights, adjusting thermostats upward, and taking other steps. But Californians asked to keep the AC down as temperatures rise as high as 112 degrees are unlikely to be sympathetic. The 13-state mid-Atlantic region shattered its one-day record high of 133,763 MW, consuming 139,746 MW. Meanwhile, across the pond, British forecasters are giving a 30 percent chance that tomorrow could be the hottest day ever recorded in the country, hitting 102 degrees in the southeast.