Frigid temperatures boosted electricity use this morning across the Tennessee Valley to one of the highest winter peaks for TVA, but the closing of most schools and some businesses today kept the peak below what had been forecasted and slightly less than the previous peak reached on Jan. 2.
TVA said consumers across its 7-state region consumed an estimated 51,639 megawatts of electricity at 10 a.m. today when the temperatures across major cities in the Tennessee Valley averaged 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Most homes and businesses in TVA's 7-state region in the Southeast use electricity for heat.
Cold weather boosts power consumption by electric furnaces and heaters, although TVA's winter peaks are usually less than those reached in the summer when electric air conditioners are used to cool homes and offices.
"The peak today was less than the 32,000 or more (megawatts) we had expected and having nearly all of the schools out today certainly shaved some of the peak," TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said today. "We were able to easily meet the peak using all of our available sources of power, plus our power purchases on the market (from other power generators and utilities) when needed."
Today's peak is the 11th highest for the winter in TVA's 85-year history.
On Jan. 2, TVA's power peak rose to 31,740 megawatts when temperatures in the Tennessee Valley averged only 9 degrees.
TVA's all-time power demand record is 33,482 megawatts on Aug. 16, 2007.
MW at 9 a.m. central time, with a valley-wide average temperature of 12 degrees.
That's a preliminary number, and if it holds, this will be the 11th highest winter peak.