The Tennessee Valley Authority power system met near-record electricity demand as arctic air swept across the Tennessee Valley, culminating with single-digit temperatures Tuesday morning.
“My sincere thanks to everyone across the TVA Valley for helping keep the lights on and our customers informed throughout this extreme winter event,” said Tim Ponseti, vice president of TVA Transmission Operations and Power Supply.
“There was extraordinary effort and great teamwork under challenging and fast changing circumstances,” he said. “Meeting back-to-back peak loads over 31,500 megawatts on Monday night and Tuesday morning, coupled with extremely low temperatures, took a tremendous amount of preparation, coordination and quick action.”
Ponseti said TVA appreciated the efforts of local power companies to reduce voltage, along with local appeals for power conservation. Those appeals are now lifted, though consumers can always find benefits from energy-saving information on TVA’s EnergyRight Solutions website at energyright.com and from local power companies.
TVA’s power system reached a preliminary peak power demand of 32,490 megawatts at 7 a.m. on Tuesday with the Valley’s average temperature at 4 degrees, a slight upward adjustment from early calculations.
This is the second highest winter power peak in TVA history and the lowest average temperature since a 3-degree average on Feb. 5, 1996. Temperatures around the Valley at the time had Nashville and Knoxville at 1 degree, Chattanooga and Huntsville at 5 degrees, and Memphis at 9 degrees.
TVA’s peak demand on Monday was 31,599 megawatts, set at 8 p.m. EST with Valley temperatures averaging 10 degrees. Tennessee Valley homes and businesses used the third most electricity in a 24-hour period in TVA history on Monday ― 678 gigawatt-hours.
Ponseti said directly served customers of TVA and customers of local power companies on interruptible power contracts provided more than 1,000 megawatts of additional capacity to TVA when needed most by curbing their power use for short periods. Without their efforts, TVA’s peak electricity demand could have set all-time records, he said.
TVA’s record winter demand is 32,572 megawatts, set on Jan. 16, 2009, when temperatures averaged 9 degrees, and TVA’s all-time record is 33,482 megawatts, set on Aug. 16, 2007, when temperatures averaged 102 degrees.
TVA expects the cold weather to moderate with lows in the mid-teens and highs in the low 40s on Wednesday, and temperatures returning to highs in the 50s by Friday. TVA ended an in-house power conservation effort on Tuesday, though TVA remains in a “power supply alert” mode as a precaution until power reserves are fully restored.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.