TVA urges all customers to reduce electricity usage due to cold

TVA urges all customers to reduce electricity usage due to cold weather


KNOXVILLE (WATE) - As the frigid temperatures cause high demand for electricity across the southeast, the Tennessee Valley Authority is asking all electric customers, including residential, commercial and industrial customers, to voluntarily reduce their use of electricity until Friday afternoon.

TVA says any reduction in electricity use can help ensure a continued supply of power to essential services throughout TVA's seven-state territory and avoid interruptions of service.

Thursday's peak power demand is expected to occur in the evening when temperatures are forecast to drop into single digits. Another peak is expected Friday morning.

TVA recommends turning down your thermostat. Even one degree can result in savings of up to three percent.

They also recommend postponing using electric appliances like dishwashers, dryers and cooking equipment, as well as turning off nonessential lights, appliances, electronics and other electrical equipment.

"When it's below 20 degrees, each time the temperature drops one degree another 400 megawatts of electricity is needed. 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."

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.

TVA issued an internal "Conservative Operation Alert" Monday, which delays any non-emergency maintenance activities at its generation and transmission facilities to minimize risks to the power supply.

TVA also 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.

Local power providers like the Lenoir City Utilities Board have made adjustments on their power lines and substations to deal with the increased demand, but crews are still prepared to respond in case of outages.  

"When you hit these cold temperatures, your metals and things tend to can contract, so we'll see our powerlines pull tighter and sometimes that can cause the power poles  to lean and sometimes wires to break," said Craig Dunn, an electrical engineer with LCUB.

Dunn says he expects LCUB's power peaks to be lower than the highest usage periods, which occur in the summer. 

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