TVA Meets Peak Demands—But It'll Cost Us

Frigid temps challenge the Tennessee Valley Authority's power-producing abilities, and once again it's persevered, meeting a record peak load of 31,436 megawatts Dec. 14 (at 8 a.m. with 15-degree temps)—the highest December peak in TVA history.

Dec. 13, TVA met a new December record for daily electricity demand of 674.9 gigawatt-hours—TVA's third highest amount for a 24-hour period ever.

To put that in perspective, a gigawatt-hour equals 1 billion watt-hours, and 10 100-watt light bulbs running for one hour equals 1,000 watt-hours.

TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities that can produce about 34,000 megawatts of electricity, and also purchases some power. Being able to meet peak demand is great, but the cold temps also mean higher residential use and higher bills.

TVA and its local power distributors are providing an In-Home Energy Evaluation program that's already conducted 11,000-plus home energy audits, and TVA's paid more than $2 million in incentives for home energy efficiency improvements.

The program recommends consumers keep thermostats set at 68 degrees—heating costs increase by about 3 percent for every degree above that.

For more information: