The current heat wave has had customers running indoors to turn on air conditioners, fans, swamp coolers and anything else they have to keep them cool. All those efforts to escape the heat led to a new peak electric demand on Wednesday – which was then eclipsed on Thursday!
Peak electricity demand refers to the amount of electricity required by customers at any given moment or over a period of time. On Wednesday, the peak electric demand reached 919 megawatts (MW), breaking the old record of 908 MW set on June 26, 2012 – during the Waldo Canyon Fire. On Thursday, the peak demand reached another new record of 928 MW.
Our ability to meet these higher demands is a testament to our preventative maintenance programs and our employees at the power plants. Regular maintenance is performed every spring and fall when demands are lower to prepare the systems for days like we’ve had lately. During the past week, all local generating units have been available and operational to ensure reliable service.
Having local generation also provides a cost savings. Heat waves like the one this week not only drive up electricity demand but also the cost of electricity for those utilities buying it on the market. Because we can produce our own electricity to meet customer demands, we are able to avoid those increased costs.
As the saying goes, records are meant to be broken, however, we can only go so high. Our total generating capacity is 1,026 MW. We encourage customers to be efficient so we stay within our local generating capacity and avoid high market costs.