CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As record high temperatures continue to be set in West Virginia, state residents are trying to stay cool and it’s showing in power usage numbers.
Appalachian Power said its customers are using their air conditioners a lot more than they usually do at this time of year.
“With the amount of time air conditioners were running to keep homes and businesses cool, people are going to see summer-month kind of usage, and a summer-month kind of bill, in a month that’s normally pretty mild,” Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye said Wednesday.
This September was hot. There were about twice as many hours where you’d need air conditioning than in a normal September.”
Moye said the additional usage will be showing up on customers’ bills in the coming weeks.
“When you’ve had a month where it’s been up in the 90’s for several days it’s going to equate to higher usage and a higher bill,” he said.
The utility uses a formula to determine “cooling degree days” when its customers are most likely to use their air conditioners. Moye said September had the highest number of those type of days in the Charleston area in the last 70 years
Appalachian Power is considered a winter peak utility because many of its customers use electricity to heat their homes. The additional hot days haven’t hit what a peak winter day would, Moye said.
“It’s been hot but our electric system is really built to handle those high peak demands that we see in the coldest winter months and it’s performed just fine in this spell of hot weather,” Moye said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Huntington reached a high of 95 which was the highest temperature ever recorded in October in the Cabell County city.
Other daily records for Oct .1 were set in Wheeling, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Beckley and Elkins.
It’s the continuation of a heat trend.
In some areas, temperatures have been running 20 to 25 degrees above normal with temperatures more typical of July in West Virginia for the start of October.
The forecast indicated a break in the heat was coming on Thursday night.
“A strong and mostly dry cold front will arrive Thursday night bringing much cooler temperatures heading into the weekend. Better chances for widespread precipitation arrive with the next system late Sunday and Monday,” NWS meteorologists predicted.
Overall in September, Charleston recorded 15 days of temperatures above 90 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
The number was ten in Clarksburg, 12 in Huntington, three in Beckley, one in Elkins and seven in Parkersburg.
In terms of mean temperatures, this September was the warmest on record in Huntington at 74.9 degrees, Beckley at 71.8 degrees and Clarksburg at 72.9 degrees.
September was also the driest on record in Huntington, Beckley and Clarksburg compared to September 2018 which was recorded as the wettest in Beckley, Charleston and Huntington.
MetroNews reporter Shauna Johnson contributed to this story.