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Power lines work to handle strain of summer usage
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - As the sun beats down, and the air conditioners run, it's up to the power lines to handle it all.
"We are near record in terms of electric send-out--our record was 9,000 megawatts, a year ago yesterday," Roger Morgenstern of Consumers Energy told Newschannel 3 Thursday.
That output in this heat has led to scattered power outages across West Michigan.
"When power has a lot of current going through it, the lines will sag, and they will drop, and sometimes they will sag into trees which otherwise would not be in the way under normal operating conditions," Morgenstern explained.
"Sometimes also, the wires will get overloaded and sometimes they will break under real hot conditions," he added.
But Consumers Energy says it's doing all it can to prevent that.
"We're monitoring the system very carefully with helicopter patrols, foot patrol, vehicle patrols to keep an visual eye on the system and an eye on the computer resources we have that keep an eye on the system," Morgenstern said.
There are also some things you can do inside your home to lessen the burden on the grid.
Those include tips like closing the shades, to reduce the need for air conditioning; and avoiding running the dishwasher, or your stove or oven in heat if possible.
Overall, Consumers says the system is holding up well, but paying attention to your energy use will save you money and save the system a little bit of strain.