Heat is on for power network

PEOPLE switching on their air-conditioners to cope with the hot weather are pushing the Ergon Energy network close to peaks of demand.

Ergon corporate communications manager Rod Rehbein said the demand in the Wide Bay Burnett yesterday at 2pm was 307 megawatts, close to the all-time peak of 320Mw.

He said air-conditioners were the main drawer of power during peak times.

And with the temperature hitting 34 degrees yesterday - and expected to be about the same today and only a little cooler tomorrow - the high demand is touted to continue.

Mr Rehbein said they were not expecting any outages due to the high demand.

"The network should be fine. This is what we plan and build for," he said.

"Times like this help us understand demands for the future, and where investment needs to be made."

Mr Rehbein said air-conditioners were making increasing demands on the network, with the numbers of the units in the Wide Bay-Burnett area two to three times what they were 15 years ago.

But while they are more expensive to run than fans - 50 cents an hour as opposed to under two cents and hour - Mr Rehbein said there were things people could do to keep their electricity bills as low as possible.

"Research suggests it only takes about 20 minutes to cool down a room, so don't leave them running all day," he said.

"We also recommend you set them at 25 degrees, because costs go up as you get down towards 20 degrees.

"You want to try to get a balance between comfort and costs."

Bundaberg Retravision owner Steve Ortt said the hot weather meant sales of air-conditioners were "going like a rocket".

"It's hot and people aren't sleeping and getting the rest they need," he said.

Mr Ortt said air-conditioning had become a necessity and was no longer the luxury it used to be.

"It's a part of life. You won't see a government building without air-conditioning," he said.

Mr Ortt said sales of air-conditioners often had peaks and troughs with the weather conditions.

"It's only when the heat becomes extreme that people act - otherwise it's out of sight out of mind," he said.

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