Wed July 4, 2012
Parts of Wisconsin might break electricity demand records
Power companies in Madison and western Wisconsin say they’re close to breaking all-time demands for electricity thanks to a week long heat wave. Meanwhile, utilities on the eastern side of the state aren’t even breaking a sweat.
Madison Gas and Electric supplies power to about 140,000 customers in Dane County. With temperatures pushing the mid 90’s Spokesman Steve Kraus says they’re close to reaching record demand. He says the standing record is 777 megawatts, set last July. But Kraus says demand will drop during the fourth of July holiday, as many businesses will be closed. “But then again on Thursday and Friday people will be back to work and we’re anticipating we’ll set an all time record on Thursday somewhere between hour five and six in the afternoon,” he says.
Kraus says MG&E expects to top out at around 805 megawatts this week.
In western Wisconsin, Xcel Energy is also experiencing near record power demand. Spokesman Brian Elwood says that'll increase the longer the heat lasts. “Typically when you have a day after another day air conditioners tend to get a little bit cooler and people tend to use a little bit more electricity to stay a little bit cooler the longer these heat waves extend,” he says.
Elwood says they’re expecting to use up to 9,400 megawatts, which is within 1% of their record, also set last July.
But on the eastern side of the state electrical demand at the two largest utilities isn’t expected break records. WE Energies Spokesman Brian Manthey they’re not even within 10% of their all time demand. “While we have seen demand, obviously, at a pretty good clip we haven’t seen it get to the point where it’s challenging any previous highs from this year or last year,” he says.
Manthey says their all time record for power demand was 6,500 megawatts, which was set in July of 2006.