Energy usage is up, as is the temperature of late

By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It's not just your imaginative opinion anymore. We're now involved a record-setting heat wave.

Thursday was the 38th consecutive day above 90 degrees, that's a Birmingham weather record. The mid-afternoon air isn't the only thing scorching in the midst of this heat wave, so is business for Alabama Power.

Take the billable usage, or demand for power, from the first 9 days of August compared to the same time frame last year. It's up 39%, a staggering figure when you consider how many customers Alabama Power serves.

"We are definitely in our extreme season right now," said Keisa Sharp, an Alabama Power spokesperson.

Despite the spike in demand, Alabama Power says its network is holding up under the strain.

"It's excessive. It's the same as with the customers, you adjust," Sharp said. "That's what we deal with and are prepared for, those extremes."

"We've had this big ridge of high pressure dominate the weather pattern not only in the southeast but across most of the country," FOX6's chief meteorologist, J.P. Dice said. "It's not only Birmingham or Central Alabama. Even across the southwest, Ohio Valley. It is just an incredibly hot summer."

Dice says this hot summer pattern isn't about to break anytime soon.

"Heat's going to be around. We're going to be looking at unusually high temperatures through September," Dice said. "But I'm not talking about triple digits. I think we're looking at some pattern change that's going to get us back to where we typically are."

So how do you keep your bill manageable until the temperature gets back to normal? A good place to start might be Alabama Power's online energy audit that can pinpoint when your peak usage times are and what's sucking down the most energy.

"There's a version that's 5 minutes long, there's a version that's longer than that," Sharp said. "That way they can pinpoint where some of their greatest power usage is taking place within their home because it's personalized for their home and their bill."

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