TVA power use rises near record high from cold weather

TVA power use rises near record high from cold weather

January 29th, 2014 by Dave Flessner in Local - Breaking News

Just five days after setting a new winter peak for power demand in the Tennessee Valley, TVA reached its second highest power demand ever during the winter this morning shortly after 7 a.m., when temperatures across the 7-state region averaged only 6 degrees Fahrenheit.

To cope with the Artic cold and snow, electric furnaces, heaters and heat pumps pushed power demand from TVA up to 32,768 megawatts, just shy of the winter peak set last Friday at 33,353 megawatts when temperatures averaged 7 degrees.

TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said the federal utility met the near-record demand without having to interrupt power to any customers, including more than 1,200 which are under contracts that allow TVA to limit power during high-demand periods.

"Our units performed well with all of our nuclear and hydro units at full generation and we were able to purchase more than 3,000 megawatts of power at the peak," Hopson said.

Today's frigid weather and high demand was the third day this month that TVA's power peak has exceeded 32,000 megawatts. TVA demand jumped to 32,490 megawatts on Jan. 6 when the average temperature in the seven-state region was only 4 degrees.

With today's temperatures expected to remain below freezing throughout the Tennessee Valley, TVA could approach or even break the daily record for power consumption in a 24-hour period. The current peak was set on Jan. 7.

In the TVA region, 56.4 percent of households heat with electricity, compared with 35.2 percent of home that use natural gas for hat and 8.4 percent that heat with propane, according to a 2012 survey of 9,133 Tennessee Valley households conducted for TVA.