Frigid temperatures are causing high demand for electricity across the Southeastern United States. As a result, the Tennessee Valley Authority is asking all electric power consumers, including residential, commercial and industrial customers, to voluntarily reduce their use of electricity until Friday afternoon.
Any reductions in electricity use can help ensure a continued supply of power to essential services throughout TVA’s seven-state service territory and avoid interruptions of service. All available generating resources are being used to meet the peak power demand.
TVA’s bulk electric system remains secure and stable at this time.
“When it’s below 20 degrees, each time the temperature drops one degree another 400 megawatts of electricity is needed. That’s almost as much as one of our larger hydroelectric dams,” said Tim Ponseti, vice president of TVA Transmission Operations and Power Supply. “Setting your thermostat two to three degrees below normal this evening and Friday morning can really help TVA manage the high power demand during this challenging time.”
Thursday’s peak power demand is expected to occur this evening when regional temperatures are forecast to drop into single digits and electricity demand is projected to exceed 31,000 megawatts. Another peak demand will occur Friday morning when electric loads are expected to peak around 33,000 megawatts. In comparison, demand was just below 32,500 megawatts during the height of the cold wave on Jan. 7, 2014.
Extremely cold weather is expected through early next week. This prolonged cold period will result in higher electricity use than experienced in early January. Consumers can reduce their power consumption and lower their power bills by:
- Turning down the thermostat. Lowering the temperature just one degree can result in a savings of up to three percent.
- Postpone using electric appliances, such as dishwashers, dryers and cooking equipment.
- Turn off nonessential lights, appliances, electronics and other electrical equipment.
Additional tips for saving on your power bill and reducing electric demand can be found on TVA’s EnergyRight Solutions website.
TVA and the region’s 155 local power companies also are cutting back power use in their facilities by lowering thermostats, reducing lighting and taking other steps to reduce electricity consumption.
On Monday, TVA issued an internal "Conservative Operation Alert," which delays any non-emergency maintenance activities at its generation and transmission facilities to minimize risks to the power supply. As a further precaution, TVA has initiated a "Power Supply Alert," which notes that demand could reach a level where an unexpected shutdown of a large generating unit or transmission system interchange could reduce TVA's power supply reserves.