Independence Day proved to be more than just hot, it brought an all-time electrical use load for Nebraska Public Power.
Nebraska Public Power District customers used an estimated 3,036 megawatts of electricity, bettering the previous record of 2,851 megawatts reached just a day earlier, on July 3.
Previously, NPPD's last all-time peak was 2,671 megawatts, set on July 30.
NPPD did not make any voluntary load reduction requests July 4 and covered customers' needs with its own power plant resources or energy market purchases, spokeswoman Jeanne Schieffer said.
"NPPD utilized the diversity of all its power plants and resources, generating power with nearly every type of fuel available (nuclear, coal, wind, natural gas and water) to meet our customers' needs," said NPPD's Energy Manager Ron Thompson. "We also purchased power from the energy market when necessary."
Transmission lines in the Gothenburg area and in north central Nebraska were heavily loaded. NPPD saw a number of transformers and sub-transmission lines approaching their limits, but in most cases worke with its wholesale partners to move load to keep within limits, Schieffer said.
There were a couple of outages related to sub-transmission lines that exceeded capability. The electric load was transferred to other sources to permit the customers service to be restored, Schieffer said.
"Considering the extremely high loads that were experienced, the system performed remarkably well," said NPPD's System Control Manager Ron Gunderson. "NPPD and its wholesale partners' personnel did an excellent job of managing the transmission and distribution system during this difficult period."
Because high temperatures are expected through the rest of this week and weekend, customers are encouraged to conserve electricity, especially between 3-8 p.m. when energy use is at its highest.
Some of the easiest ways to conserve energy are to:
* Raise your thermostat to a higher setting and turn on fans.
* Close drapes on windows that face the sun.
* Grill outdoors or use your microwave instead of the stovetop or oven.
* Delay dishwashing and laundry until after 8 p.m.
* Unplug appliances and shut off lights that are not in use.
* Do any baking early in the morning before it gets hot outside.
* Shower early in the morning or later in the evening.
"Collectively, every little bit can help," said Thompson. "Imagine if the nearly 1 million Nebraskans ultimately connected to NPPD's electrical grid turned up their thermostats one or two degrees or ran their electrical appliances like washers, dryers, dishwashers, etc. after 8 p.m. or before 8 a.m., we would likely see reduced demand on the system as a whole."
NPPD's system operators manage most of Nebraska's electric grid outside of the Omaha and Lincoln areas.
"We are constantly assessing what is driving our load," Gunderson said. "Irrigation demands in one area of the state, coupled with air conditioning loads in nearby communities, can put great demand on the system. However, good rainfall can reduce the need for irrigation and slightly reduced temperatures in another area of the state can decrease the demand from air conditions and, in turn, reduce load on the system overall."