The Tennessee Valley Authority reports that the weekend’s cold snap, which dipped down to 14 degrees across the Tennessee Valley, ranked fourth in the utility’s “Top 10” winter weekend power peaks. Preliminary numbers show TVA’s power peak of 28,863 megawatts occurred on Sunday, Jan. 8. Sunday’s peak was about 4 percent off the utility’s all-time winter weekend high set on Jan. 9, 2010.
“This past weekend’s cold weather was one for the record books,” says Patrick Walshe, manager of Resource Operations and Analysis for Transmission Operations and Power Supply. “We experienced record weekend power peaks. And, since the temperatures stayed below freezing all weekend, a lot of energy was used.”
TVA says Saturday morning’s peak of 27,575 megawatts is the ninth-highest winter weekend peak. The company also reports that consumers in their seven-state service area used 621,364 megawatt hours in a 24-hour period, which is also the utility’s fourth highest weekend energy day—enough electricity to power the city of Las Vegas for 10 days.
“The TVA generating fleet performed well and we appreciate our TVA and local power company employees who worked behind the scenes to resolve issues and keep our lights and heat on,” says Walshe.
Because electricity demand is driven by temperature, TVA uses a meteorologist who monitors the weather across the region.
“We need our forecast as accurate as possible,” says Walshe. Each degree TVA is off on their forecast means a difference of 350 megawatts, which equals about 200,000 homes. “To keep rates as low, we must produce the exact amount of electricity people need.”
On Jan. 5, TVA started asking to prepare for the weather by issuing tips on how to conserve electricity to reduce their power bill.
“As the largest public power provider in America our goal is to deliver electricity at the right time, with the right fuel at the right rate to ensure our consumers have the lowest power bill possible,” Walshe concludes.