Historic low temperatures caused members of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation to set a peak high record for electricity demand due to heating needs.
Early Friday, the cooperative’s nearly 74,000 members used 383 megawatts of electricity, which is over 10 percent higher than normal. Cooperative members also reached this same peak usage level during extreme cold temperatures around this same time period last year.
“Our system is well prepared to operate reliably and handle additional demand as a result of good planning and the work done to keep our system modernized,” said Lee Layton, chief operations officer. Layton also thanked members for helping the cooperative coordinate with its wholesale power provider to conserve electricity as requested on Thursday and Friday mornings. These efforts helped ease the strain on the power grid created by high electricity demand for heating due to extreme low temperatures all across the region.
“We were very lucky our area had no ice or heavy, wet snow during this cold front,” Layton added, explaining that these factors along with high winds are the most damaging threats to power system reliability. “I'm also very proud of our crews and all our employees who respond rapidly when outages occur,” said Layton. “They have a strong commitment to getting the heat and lights back on for our members and they respond quickly–no matter the hour of the day or night,” he said.
More winter weather could be on the way this weekend for the cooperative’s service area. If members experience outages, please report them by calling the cooperative’s PowerLine: 1-800-448-2383.
The cooperative provides an online outage map at www.BlueRidgeEMC.com to check outage status and estimated restoral times. During major outages, information is also shared on the cooperative’s social media sites: www.facebook.com/blueridgeemc and www.twitter.com/blueridgeemc.
For more safety and preparedness tips and information, visit www.BlueRidgeEMC.com.