Energy use spikes as frigid temperatures bring the chill

Energy use spikes as frigid temperatures bring the chill

Record use recorded for electric co- op, Entergy asks customers to

conserve power

ralphhardin@gmail.com With temperatures in some areas creeping down into the single digits, folks were inside bumping up the thermostat.

“North Arkansas Electric Cooperative has just exceeded our record peak electric demand, which was previously set in 2014,” reported Mel Coleman, CEO for the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative. “We exceeded that peak by 8 percent, still rising and approaching 10 percent.”

Temperatures have lingered well below the seasonal average in January, thanks to a series of cold fronts. Over the weekend and early this week, the cold brought winter precipitation with it, keeping people indoors and under the warmth of electric heat.

Coleman predicted the record would be in jeopardy Tuesday morning “North Arkansas Electric Cooperative was within 0.4 percent of an all-time electric demand early this a.m.” he posted on the NAEC Facebook page. “Right now we are 25 percent ahead of last night, same time. Assuming no hiccups, the sys- tem will have a significant record peak tomorrow a.m.”

Coleman added, “This type of weather extreme is the most severe test an electric distribution system can face, and can cause unknown weak spots to surface. It’s like a nuclear stress test for your heart.

We’ve checked all systems and we are as prepared as we can be. Should we experience any outages, our men are ready to immediately

respond.

He said that Arkansans are typically unaccustomed to temperatured this low and that everyone “should have a plan B during times of extreme weather.”

As low temperatures plunged, Entergy customers in Arkansas were asked to reduce their electricity usage for a six-hour period Wednesday morning.

In a released statement, Entergy said its power reliability coordinator, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, has requested that customers conserve

their electricity usage

from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The statement said periodic blackouts would be required if the power supply cannot meet the demand.

Entergy described the request as 'unusual' and said the power reliability coordinator is making similar requests to utilities in the Midwest. Cold weather was credited with the higherthan- expected demand for power, according to the statement.

Some Marion residents and communities north of the city were briefly without power Tuesday evening, from around 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. After the long cold snap, temperatures are expected to be closer to seasonal norms for the foreseeable future.

By Ralph Hardin

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