OCEAN CITY — The excessive heat that plagued the area for much of the week and soared past the 100-degree mark throughout much of the region yesterday was likely to blame for a power outage in much of Ocean City and West Ocean City.
Shortly after noon on Thursday, electric power service went out across much of West Ocean City and Ocean City and remained off throughout most of the afternoon. Delmarva Power officials reported a problem with a transformer at a substation in West Ocean City, likely caused by the increased demand from the excessive heat, was responsible for the outage.
A little after noon, Delmarva Power’s interactive power outage map showed nearly 3,600 residential and commercial accounts in the 21842 and 21843 zip codes, which includes Ocean City and most of West Ocean City, were without power.
By 2 p.m., the number dropped to around 2,500 and went down further to just under 1,400 about an hour later. Around 3:30 p.m., however, the figure had nudged up to just under 2,000 again.
In addition, power outages were reported in the Berlin and Ocean Pines area with an increasing number of residences and businesses without service throughout the afternoon. For example, around 2 p.m., just over 400 accounts in a vast section of northern Worcester County in the 21811 and 21862 zip codes were without power.
By 3:30 p.m., the number had nudged up to over 800. Power was expected to be restored in the area by 4 p.m. yesterday, although the numbers were increasing and not going down as that hour approached late yesterday.
With temperatures soaring into the upper 90s with heat indices creeping past the 100-degree mark, the increased demand on electric power was likely the cause of the massive outage across the Ocean City-West Ocean City area yesterday afternoon. At 4 p.m., the actual temperature peaked out at 99 degrees with a heat index of 106. The temperature was not expected to dip into 80s until late last night with heat indexes in the upper 90s still forecasted.
According to Delmarva Power, the extreme heat and associated humidity drive heavy demand for power has residential and commercial customers cranking up their air conditioning to stay cool. As a result, the increased demand can greatly affect distribution lines and cause transformers and other equipment to fail.
Delmarva Power offered several tips to lessen demand and decrease the risk of power outages including setting air conditioner thermostats as high as health permits and closing curtains and blinds to keep the sun’s hot rays out and retain cooler air inside.
Delmarva Power was also urging customers to postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers, washers and dryers until the cooler evening hours. In addition, residents are urged to turn off non-essential electric appliances and equipment that can contribute to the ambient temperature in a home or business.