Historic Cold Temperatures May Create Record Demand

911557_10151464718889480_884162178_nSouth Carolina’s electric cooperatives and other utilities are warning that all-time low temperatures forecast for Thursday and Friday mornings may result in a record demand for electricity.

Predicted temperatures in the pre-dawn hours Thursday range from single digits in the Upstate to the low teens in the Midlands and Pee Dee. Below freezing temperatures are also forecast for the Lowcountry. All South Carolina counties are under a wind chill advisory from 7 p.m. Wednesday until 1 p.m. Thursday. Wind chill values in the Upstate could dip below zero both mornings.

Historically, cold weather creates the highest residential electricity use in South Carolina. The most critical hours for utilities supplying power are the hours from 6-9 a.m. when demand is at its peak.

“We have enough (power) capacity to meet our demand,” said David Logeman, director of power supply at Central Electric Power Cooperative in Columbia, which provides wholesale electricity to all 20 of the South Carolina’s member-owned cooperatives. “However, weather events like this mean our system will probably operate at maximum capacity over an extended period.”

Consumers are urged to be mindful of their energy use during the hours of peak demand.

“If each household follows a few simple steps to conserve electricity, those reductions will have a meaningful impact,” said Mike Couick, president and CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “Using less power means less stress on our systems and increased reliability of service.”

Members can use less power by following these steps in their homes:

  •  Turn off all but essential internal and external lights
  • Unplug non-essential appliances and devices
  • Set thermostats on 68 degrees or lower
  • Minimize or postpone hot water use
  • Ensure heating and air conditioning vents are open and unobstructed
  • Limit use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers, and dryers from 6-9 a.m.

Members can learn more ways to save energy in their homes by visiting togetherwesave.com.

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