Frigid temperatures are causing high demand for electricity across the Southeastern United States, the Tennessee Valley Authority said Thursday.
As a result, TVA 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,” the public utility said in a press release. “All available generating resources are being used to meet the peak power demand.”
TVA said its bulk electric system remains secure and stable at this time.
The National Weather Service in Morristown said another arctic air mass has settled into the region, with overnight low temperatures below zero at a few locations and in the single digits at many locations.
“Temperatures this afternoon are expected to stay below freezing across much of the area and will continuously stay below freezing through the remainder of the work week,” forecasters said.
The Weather Service said high temperatures in the air could be around 20 degrees below normal. The forecast near Oak Ridge calls for a high of 25 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday afternoon, a low of 7 Thursday night, a high of 26 on Friday, and a low of 17 of Friday night.
TVA said each one-degree temperature drop below 20 degrees requires another 400 megawatts of electricity.
“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.”
The peak power demand on Thursday is expected to occur in the 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, when TVA power demand hit its second-highest winter peak.
TVA’s all-time record winter demand was set on Jan. 16, 2009, at 32,572 megawatts when temperatures across the Tennessee Valley averaged 9 degrees. The all-time record demand on the TVA power system was 33,482 megawatts on Aug. 16, 2007, when temperatures averaged 102 degrees.
Extremely cold weather is expected in East Tennessee 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 3 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, a press release said.
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.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving nine million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation, and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.