A blast of arctic air, the coldest in decades, spurred a new record for peak power demand Tuesday (1/7) from PPL Electric Utilities customers.
Preliminary figures show the demand on the system for the hour ending at 6 p.m. Tuesday was 7,784 megawatt-hours, eclipsing the all-time winter peak of 7,577 megawatt-hours set on Feb. 5, 2007. The new demand record means customers used 7.78 million kilowatt-hours of power in the hour in which the mark was set, enough to power more than 700 homes for a year.
PPL Electric Utilities’ transmission and distribution systems delivered power without any notable problems.
The PJM Interconnection, which coordinates and directs the operation of the regional transmission grid serving all or part of 13 states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, called for conservation Tuesday and Wednesday (1/8) because of the frigid temperatures and high demand. It also reported setting a new power demand record. It ended its conservation request at mid-morning Wednesday.
The bone-chilling weather, which affected a large part of the country, is expected to moderate Wednesday and Thursday (1/9).
“We continuously maintain our system and invest in improvements for year-round reliability, including during weather extremes like this one,” said Dave Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations for the utility. “Despite what Mother Nature delivers, our customers rightfully expect we’ll deliver for them, and we do.”
PPL Electric Utilities offers tips to conserve energy in the extreme cold:
• Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
• Heat loss is even greater during periods of extreme cold. Cover drafty windows. Roll up a towel or blanket for the bottom of drafty exterior doors. (When possible, add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.)
• When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. (If you raise the thermostat, your home will use more energy.)
• When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back.
• Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
• Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
Safety is always important. Customers should:
• Check the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors.
• Keep space heaters at least three feet away from any objects.
• Make sure portable generators are outside in a well-ventilated area to avoid buildup of deadly carbon monoxide.
• Never use your oven or stove to heat your home; it’s not designed to do so, and could cause a fire.
• Check on elderly neighbors and family members.
• Be sure to report your outage at 1-800-DIAL-PPL or online at www.pplelectric.com/outage. The Outage Center is mobile-ready and can be accessed with your smartphone.
• Be sure you have an emergency kit that includes items such as water, canned food, medications, flashlight and batteries.
PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and consistently ranks among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.