Utilities break records for peak power demand - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Utilities break records for peak power demand

The frigid temperatures have led to some power problems around the Tennessee Valley. (Source: MGN Online) The frigid temperatures have led to some power problems around the Tennessee Valley. (Source: MGN Online)

The frigid temperatures have led to some serious power problems around the Tennessee Valley. Several utility companies had to deal with outages on Tuesday.

Athens Utilities had around 21 customers still without power and heat Tuesday night. Florence Utilities said wrapped up the last of their outages Tuesday afternoon and had no new reports.  

Huntsville Utilities officials said all power outages from the morning had been repaired. They estimated that as many as a thousand people had no power or heat. They anticipated more outages as the sun went down and people returned home from work. 

There was a power outage reported in the Gurley area including U.S. Highway 72 from Moontown Road east to the Madison County Line and from Ryland Pike south to Cherry Tree Road.

A Huntsville Utilities spokesman said they have crews standing by around the clock to take care of any problems.

If electricity fails at your home, Huntsville Utilities said you need to leave your heating system off for 15 minutes after power is restored. A slow return to normal usage will assist crews in maintaining stability throughout the entire electrical system and reduce the possibility of additional outages. 

The demand for electricity and natural gas by Huntsville Utilities' customers to heat their homes and businesses has reached record levels. Peak demand for power broke the previous record set on Jan. 16, 2009.

Demand represents the amount of electricity flowing into the system at any given moment. The natural gas system also set a record for gas usage, breaking the previous record for natural gas use set in December 2000.

Athens Utilities said they set a record when customers used 291 megawatts of power Monday, but that was shattered Tuesday when usage peaked to nearly 320 megawatts. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the company had three customers without power, down from a high of 4,000 in the morning, a spokesperson said. Two substations went down, one at Mount Rozell starting at 2:30 a.m. and another at Poplar Creek at 6:05 a.m. There were scattered outages. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority power system also met near-record electricity demand Tuesday morning.

Tim Ponseti, vice president of TVA Transmission Operations and Power Supply said TVA appreciated the efforts of local power companies to reduce voltage, along with local appeals for power conservation. 

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 remains in a power supply alert mode as a precaution until power reserves are fully restored. 

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