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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2007
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Rantavion Turner and Kiara Daniels seek relief from triple-digit heat with a cold treat and a water spigot at Athens Limestone Wellness Park.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Rantavion Turner and Kiara Daniels seek relief from triple-digit heat with a cold treat and a water spigot at Athens Limestone Wellness Park.

HEAT WAVE IN THE VALLEY
Power consumption heading for record
TVA asking consumers to conserve electricity

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com · 340-2469

Because of triple-digit temperatures, North Alabama could set a record for power consumption Wednesday or Thursday, Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman John Moulton said.

“We’ll mostly likely set a new record later this week,” Moulton said.

For the seven-state TVA service area, the electric supplier set a peak record at 33,332 megawatts Aug. 8. To put this in perspective, one megawatt is enough energy to light about 600 homes, Moulton said.

The peak-setting record came in a week when TVA met the demand of more than 32,000 megawatts for three consecutive days.

With temperatures expected to reach between 100 and 105 degrees through Friday, TVA may ask distributors to curtail use at their offices, Moulton said.

“We’re doing this at our facilities,” Moulton said.

TVA is asking consumers to conserve energy, especially between the hours of noon and 10 p.m., typically the hottest part of the day.

Area utility general managers said they are monitoring their systems and are asking people to be energy smart.

Grayson Keith escapes from the sweltering weather at the Delano Park splash pad  in Decatur.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Grayson Keith escapes from the sweltering weather at the Delano Park splash pad in Decatur.
“We’re keeping drapes and blinds closed to keep our home cooler and cooking less foods that require a long time to cook,” Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corp. General Manager George Kitchens said.

Kitchens and general managers at Hartselle Utilities and Decatur Utilities said they will monitor their systems to see if peak records are set Wednesday and Thursday.

“Right now, I can tell you with absolute certainty that people are using more power in Hartselle,” HU General Manager Ferrell Vest said.

DU Interim General Manager Stan Keenum said usage is up, but it’s unlikely that DU will surpass the 280-megawatt record set in 2001.

DU is averaging about 267 megawatts per day, engineer Eric Baxley said.

“We will probably run this as long as temperatures stay in the low hundreds,” he said. “We usually hit that demand in mid-to-late afternoon.”

The Volunteer Center of Morgan County is trying to help needy families cope with soaring temperatures by distributing fans and air conditioners.

The organization donates fans to anyone requesting them.

“We purchased eight fans on Friday and they were gone on Monday,” said Dawnell Merrill of the Volunteer Center.

Merrill said fewer families are requesting fans because they do little to help with the 100-degree temperatures.

The center gives air conditioners to people with letters of necessity from a physician.

“We have people requesting them all day long,” she said.

The National Weather Service office in Huntsville expects temperatures to be at least 100 degrees through Friday.

The next chance of rain is Sunday or Monday, and that possibility is slim, a NWS spokesman said.

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