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LA Heat Wave Triggers Record Demand For Electricity

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Some local officials are calling it a heat storm. Southern California is broiling. Temperatures are hitting a hundred degrees in downtown Los Angeles. They're expected to rise even higher in surrounding areas. And the heat has triggered record demand for electricity, as we hear from Jed Kim of member station KPCC.

JED KIM, BYLINE: It's so hot that LA zookeepers have been making giant fruit and vegetable filled popsicles - a treat for elephants and four-year-old Bryson Ruth who watches.

BRYSON RUTH: Yay - the elephants. They're coming.

KIM: But not much about this heat storm has been a treat. Residents have been kicking their air conditioners into overdrive in an attempt to stay cool. Today, the city is expected to hit record high power usage. Thousands have lost electricity. Joe Ramallo is a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The agency is telling residents to keep their ACs set no lower than to 78 degrees to keep more power in the system.

JOE RAMALLO: Also, don't do laundry today. Just skip it. It'll do the grid and your neighbors and yourself a favor.

KIM: For those without power or air conditioning, the city and Los Angeles County have set up cooling centers at local libraries and senior centers, though even air conditioning is no guarantee of relief, says high school student Amanda Mahoney.

AMANDA MAHONEY: Sometimes my car gets so hot, I go in and my air conditioning is just blowing out extremely hot air, even though it's on completely cold.

KIM: The high temperatures are expected through Wednesday. For NPR News, I'm Jed Kim in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.