Cold temperatures cause TVA's second highest peak power demand in November
Across the viewing area, morning lows were in the 20s with some places in the upper teens. With wind gusting as well, wind chill temperatures were even lower. These cold temperatures forced people to use more power, trying to stay warm.
Tennessee Valley Authority's peak power demand Wednesday morning was the second highest ever for the month of November at 26,714 megawatts with a system average temperature of 24 degrees.
It's only the third time demand has been above 26,000 megawatts in the month of November, and TVA was prepared to meet this almost record November peak from Memphis to Knoxville to right here in Chattanooga.
"We have our own staff meteorologist who is looking at the temperatures, and this cold wave was fairly well forecasted at least a week out. So, we knew we were going to have a decent size load this morning, and we were prepared to meet it," said Patrick Walshe, Manager of Resource Operations and Analysis at TVA.
Walshe said this morning's peak load is typical for an average January day. TVA forecasts 10 days out for hour by hour demand for situations like today to make sure they can reliably meet the power needs of customers.
TVA says the good news is that this high peak power demand should not affect rates, but there are steps you can take to keep your power bill down.
"Your power bill is based on usage, so the more power you use, the more you are going to be billed. So, if you are smart with electricity and you control how much you use, then you can help keep your bills lower," explained Scott Fiedler, TVA spokesperson.
Many of us don't follow Fiedler's first money saving tip. "If you go off to work, don't turn that thermostat down to 50. Keep it at about 65 to 68. You don't want to yo-yo it because your thermostat and your heater is going to work a lot harder."
By keeping the thermostat between 65 and 68, you will save money, and each additional degree lower will save about 3% on your bill.
Another helpful tip is to take advantage of your kitchen.
"Cook indoors. In the summer, we ask you to cook outside with your barbecue, but indoors, the heat from your oven or your stove can help warm up your house," Fiedler stated.
TVA also recommends using weather stripping or caulk to seal air gaps around windows and doors. Additionally, open up the shades for southern facing windows to let sunshine in on sunny days but cover up north facing windows with curtains.