COLUMBUS, NE – High temperatures and drought conditions are a challenging combination for Nebraskans who are trying to stay cool and irrigate crops during prime growing season. Combine these two conditions with unprecedented electrical loads that tax a traditionally reliable transmission system and Nebraskans are in a unique situation.
“For 16 of the last 19 days, our customers’ electrical load has peaked higher than the last record peak we saw in 2006 of 2,671 megawatts,” said NPPD’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Kent. “And the last three days have seen peaks over 2,800 megawatts.”
The Nebraska Public Power District has enough generation from its power plants and market purchases to meet customer demand, but temperatures are supposed to stay high all week, irrigators still want to irrigate, and people want to stay cool.
“It is the amount of power carried on our transmission lines that has elevated our concern and request for customers to reduce their electrical use,” said Kent.
High demand on the transmission lines can tax system transformers, substations, and other equipment associated with power delivery. Brief outages can occur if power lines become too overloaded. NPPD is urging its end-use and wholesale utility customers to reduce load when possible to preserve the integrity of the grid and not overheat the lines or equipment.
“Like road construction during the summer, the transmission infrastructure in some parts of the state can get congested with the amount of ‘traffic’ or power on the lines,” explained Kent.
NPPD sends special messages to targeted radio stations in any specifically affected area, asking customers in that vicinity to reduce their electricity use.
“But statewide conservation can help, too,” said Kent. “Nebraskans are known for helping their fellow Nebraskans. We hope if everyone chips in to reduce their usage it can help us collectively manage through this challenging time.”
While customer demand is typically highest between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., NPPD is seeing a consistent increase in energy use throughout the entire day. To combat higher energy use, keep things cooler, and even lower your electric bill:
- Close window drapes and doors to unused rooms
- Shower, do dishes and laundry before 8 a.m.
- Unplug or shut off unused appliances, gadgets and lights
- Bake in the morning before it gets hot
- Grill outdoors or use your microwave
- Dry laundry on a clothesline
- Additional energy conservation tips are available at www.nppd.com.
“Every kilowatt helps,” said Kent. “If those customers ultimately connected to NPPD’s electrical grid turned up their thermostats one or two degrees and rescheduled their routine activities to alternative times where usage is less, we would expect to see reduced demand on the system as a whole.”