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Utility Companies Prepare For Potential Power Outages Due To Strained Systems

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - In the heat of the day, more people are heading indoors.

"It's getting a little warm. Doing the yard work early in the day, trying to avoid the hottest part of the day," said Lou Desanzo, who lives in Beaver County.

Desanzo isn't alone. But it's not just people getting scorched by the sun.

"High heat can cause damage to our equipment and that's one of the challenges we have," Hollie Geitner said.

Geitner is with Duquesne Light, which has already brought in extra crews to help prepare for potential power outages over the next two days.

"We get 90-degree temperatures and everyone turns on their air conditioners and fans, and there's an increase demand in power that we haven't seen," Geitner said.

Not only is more power being used, but it is being used for longer periods of time. Those machines will keep running through the night because temperatures aren't cooling down, which can impact the underground lines.

"Those cables can expand and short circuit because they are so hot underground. Lines can sag when it gets really hot. So trees can get in the lines and cause outages," Geitner said.

Then the transformers can burn up from the oil inside overheating. It's just one situation power crews hope to avoid this week.

"We are working as quickly as possible. We have 800 square miles of service territory and 7,200 distribution lines. When we see what is in our neighborhood, we forget there is a lot more out there," Geitner said.

WATCH: Jennifer Borrasso Reports

On Tuesday night as of 10:59 p.m., Duquesne Light says more than 5,300 customers are without power. Click here for more on the outages.

Duquesne Light said a blown transformer is partly to blame. A spokesperson said it is not clear if it is heat-related.

Nearly 2,000 people in Lawrence County are without power on Tuesday night, according to West Penn Power. Click here for more on the outages.

For Duquesne Light or West Penn Power to know if your power is out, you have to let them know. Heat-related issues can take a little longer to fix. The sooner crews know where the problems are, the sooner they can get to work.

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