As temperatures soared to 105 degrees this week, the 70 percent of Portlanders who have air conditioning didn't stray away from using it.
Portland General Electric customers broke power use records this week, using the most power in a single hour since summer 2009.
Portland General Electric also broke records for energy use. PGE's 872,000 customers, ranging from Mt. Hood to Hillsboro and Portland to the Salem-area, set a new energy use peak on Thursday, August 3.
Customers first set a new record on Wednesday, August 2, using 3,967 megawatts of power, and broke it again on Thursday, using 3,976 megawatts: enough to power three and a half cities the size of Seattle—in one hour.
The previous summer record was in 2009, when power usage hit 3,949 megawatts.
The all-time PGE peak is still winter of 1998, when PGE customers used 4,073 megawatts in an hour, according to PGE spokesperson Steven Corson.
Most of that power was likely being used to run air conditioners.
"It's pretty much accepted industry-wide that it's air conditioners because they draw a lot of power," says Bonneville Power Administration spokesman Daniel Wilson.
Bonneville Power Administration, which provides power to 142 utility companies covering Washington, Oregon, Idaho, parts of Utah, Montana, Northern California and Wyoming, also broke records.
The last time BPA's region used this much energy was in 2014, when 7,861 megawatts of electricity were used, according to Wilson.
This year, that record was broken three days in a row. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the region consumed more than 8000 megawatts each day, with Wednesday being the highest at 8,226 megawatts.
For reference, one megawatt powers an estimated 700 homes, which means the region used enough energy to power 5,758,200 homes. You can also look at it as 1,100 megawatts can power an entire city the size of Seattle—so seven times that.
According to Census data, at least 271,300 residences in and around Portland are without an air conditioning unit, making up 30 percent of Portland housing units.
Corson says the number of homes with air conditioners has grown enormously in the last 20 to 30 years.
"In the early '90s, only about 30 percent of customers had some kind of air conditioning," Corson says. "We used to be very clearly a winter peaking utility and now it's not uncommon to have years where the highest use is in the summertime."
If you are cranking the A/C this week and you're worried about paying the bill, you can track your energy usage when you login to your account on PGE's website. Corson encourages customers who may have a hard time paying their electric bill to reach out early to assistance resources.