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Heat wave puts small businesses under pressure as temperatures – and bills – keep climbing

Jordan Hart   

Heat wave puts small businesses under pressure as temperatures – and bills – keep climbing
  • Heat waves are hitting individuals and small businesses the hardest, reports say.
  • Dangerous temps in California, Arizona, and Texas are forcing many to depend on air-conditioning.

Record temperatures are being recorded in parts of the US and Europe this summer, putting power grids under strain as businesses and households keep air conditioners on in a bid to stay cool.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state's power grid, said a new unofficial demand record of more than 81,000 megawatts was set on Thursday, NBC DFW reported.

While grids appear to be coping with extra demand from the heat wave afflicting tens of millions of Americans, some small businesses and residents are under extra pressure.

At Burger Fresh & More in the greater Houston area, temperatures in its kitchen soared as high as 118 degrees after its air conditioner broke down recently, The Wall Street Journal reported. The repair bill was more than $12,000.

"We had to get a small-business loan to cover it because we're just a little bitty company," the outlet's manager, Karen Swearingen, told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, workers in Houston are protesting a law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday that eliminate water break mandates for construction companies in Texas. Some have called it "the law that kills."

The body struggles to cool itself properly starting at about 104 degrees, according to researchers from University of Roehampton in England. California, Arizona, and Texas have hit temperatures well above that level this summer.

Phoenix, Arizona has soared above 110 Fahrenheit for much of July, and there have been reports of people being treated for second-degree burns from blazing sidewalks.

The National Energy Assistance Directors Association found that 22% of households can't pay their energy bill, and a third say they're giving up other necessities to able to keep their air on.

According to data from the association, domestic energy bills will jump almost 12% this summer to an average of $578, up from $517.

"If you're worried about the economy recovering, this is money that can't be spent on something else," the association's executive director Mark Wolfe told the Journal.


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