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THE heat and high degree of humidity was such that on Tuesday night this week at 9.40pm, the record for electricity consumption in the Majorca/Minorca power grid was broken for the fifth time this Summer. These maximum levels have become a characteristic of the Balearics as the Ibiza/Formentera system also exceeded its highest demand for electricity in history on the same day at 9.44pm. The system supplying Majorca/Minorca had to meet a demand for 841 megawatts.
Only the day before, the previous record was broken with a demand for 839 megawatts. The power company GESA-ENDESA had forecast the need to be prepared for a new summer maximum demand, which is only 7 megawatts more than the level reached last Tuesday. For the first time, historical peak demands have been registered at a late hour. This can be explained by the strain put on the system by street lighting added to the huge demand from electrical appliances in homes, hotels and leisure centres. To top the extreme temperatures, a major part of the Baleares experienced falls of “mud rain” which apart from dirtying cars and terraces, deepened the sense of unbearable humidity. The 841 megawatts supercedes the high point of July 2002 by 10.2 percent. The accumulated electrical consumption in the same month is 17.7 higher than July last year. Furthermore, the accumulated annual increase is 8.9 percent which means we are once more in the tracks of the growth in demand for power registered at the end of the nineties. The power company doesn't reject the possibility that if the intense heat continues in the Balearics, even further maximum levels of demand will be registered on both grids. Not a moment too soon, the first turbine of a new generating system has come into service this week at the Son Reus power station. The turbine has a 70 megawatt output and will be joined by a second at the end of August. The third turbine will not come on line until 2005. This means that possible high points of consumption that will emerge in 2004 will be handled by the machinery that will be in place this year. Temperatures yesterday were high but within acceptable limits for the time of year. However, the stifling atmosphere is intensified by high levels of humidity and winds were registered at 40 kilometres per hour.