Everywhere the hum of air conditioners

air conditioner


New Yorkers set a record for single month electricity usage in July, according to NYISO -- the org that manages most of the power grid in the state.

Total usage was at 17,312 gigawatt-hours (yeah, sounds big). It tops the old record, set in August 2005, by about two percent. And it's up 19 percent from last July.

The state also almost set a new record peak demand on July 6.

This past July in the Capital Region was hot -- but not extraordinarily so. The average temp was 74.9, which doesn't even rank in the top 10 (we needed to hit 76.5 to crack that list). There were eight days over 90 -- about four more than usual.

New York City was smokin', though. Its July was the second hottest month on record there.

There's an even better figure to for talking about temperature and energy consumption: the cooling degree day (basically, by how many degrees is the temp over 65 each day -- yes, there are heating degree days, too). In July, the Capital Region racked up 321 cooling degree days -- that's about 56 percent more than a typical July.

Of course, anything close to a normal summer this year would seem hot to last year's, when the season seemed to go missing.

August is also off to a hot start. The average temp so far is about three degrees higher than a typical August, according to NWS data.


Temperature isn't a complete measure as to how uncomfortable air feels to people; A more accurate gauge is dew point. It would be interesting to see comparions of how this summer stacks up to previous. It sure feels more sticky than I remember the past few years.

Even last night, with temps in the lower 70's, the dew point was over 70 (the threshold most folks say yuck). We ran the A/C for a few hours just to get rid of the stick.

I'm no meteorologist (or a mathematician), but this summer seems so much warmer than last. Perhaps the biggest difference I've noticed is the average low. Last summer, I vividly recall wearing a hoodie when I left the house at 7 a.m. almost every morning. I haven't touched a hoodie except for two mornings this year. With it not cooling off as much as night (I would guess), more people are running a/c to sleep comfortably. Also, it does seem the highs are higher. Twice as many days over 90 is certainly significant, but I'm guessing those days it was in the 80's are higher in the 80's. It's only the third summer I've spent here, but I'm absolutely miserable in this heat for the first time in three summers.

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