A Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman says at least 1,200 interruptible service contract customers participated in helping the utility get through the high demand for power during this week’s arctic cold.
Duncan Mansfield said Murray State University, which shut down power Monday night, was the only such customer in western Kentucky.
Mansfield said it’s extremely rare for the power utility to exercise those contracts.
“If we didn’t have that support, we probably would have set all time records," Mansfield said. "The philosophy behind these demand response programs is that they’re basically a virtual power plant that we’re able to tap without constructing an actual power plant.”
MSU has saved around $1.5 million dollars over the five years it has been on a demand response contract with TVA. The university sustained significant damage to around 40 percent of main campus buildings due to freezing temperatures after a back-up generator failed to operate properly in the extreme cold.
UPDATE: FROM TVA Public Relations
Tennessee Valley residents set a single-day record for electricity use while keeping warm during this week’s arctic cold wave, the Tennessee Valley Authority said Wednesday.
Homes and businesses across TVA’s seven-state region used 703 gigawatt-hours of electricity on Tuesday, the most ever for a 24-hour, one-day period. TVA’s previous record was 701 gigawatt-hours on Jan. 8, 2010.
This came one day after TVA had its fourth highest “energy day” ever on Monday with 678 gigawatt-hours.