Live updates: Heat wave descends on the US

Live updates: Heat wave descends on the US

Officials are urging people to conserve energy during this weekend’s heat wave.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that the heat emergency declared Thursday, and calls for energy rationing this weekend, are out of an “abundance of caution.”

The mayor signed an executive order directing office buildings 100 feet or taller to set their thermostats to 78 degrees to conserve energy, and is asking New Yorkers to do the same in their homes.

Speaking with host Brian Lehrer on radio station WNYC, de Blasio said utility company Con Edison has not given him “good enough answers” on the reason for New York’s power outage last weekend, but told him overload was not it. He said the company told him an overload is not predicted for this weekend, but residents should cut back just to be sure.

The president of Con Edison in New York, Tim Cawley, agreed with the importance of conserving energy.

“Its always a good thing to do but it’s particularly good in this period because it reduces some of the demand on the system, customers will save money and it’s good for the environment,” Cawley said at a news conference Friday.

It’s not just New York: About 185 million people are under a heat watch, warning or advisory as of Friday morning.

The heat warnings cover a large swath of the Midwest, including Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and Omaha, as well as parts of the East Coast, including New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC.

Here’s how to maximize your energy efficiency, according to National Grid:

  • Close the blinds and drapes to prevent the sun from making your home too hot.
  • Turn off lights and ceiling fans when you aren’t home or not using them.
  • Set your air conditioner up a few degrees –– even a small amount makes a big difference. For example, a 75-degree setting will cost about 18 percent more than a 78 degree setting.
  • Unplug electronics like televisions and computers. Even though they are turned off, they are still drawing electricity.
  • Try not to use hot water appliances like dish washers or washing machines.
  • Temporarily switch off pool pumps.

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