KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Wednesday, the Tennessee Valley Authority said the demand for power reached around 30,725 megawatts at around 6 p.m. It was the seventh-highest June peak in TVA history.
"For the last six days, we've hit loads over 30,000 megawatts," said Scott Fiedler, a spokesperson for TVA. "So, it's a tremendous amount of electricity being used. Thirty-thousand megawatts is equivalent to about 17 million homes."
The regional temperature was around 97 degrees on Wednesday. Despite the high temperatures and higher electricity demand, Fiedler said the TVA system is still performing well. He said crews spent a lot of time maintaining it, preparing the system for hot weather and high electricity demands.
"This is like our Super Bowl. This is the big game that we prepare for all year round. People depend on us, 10 million people across seven states and we're here to perform," he said.
He said electricity demand usually spikes between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and he said people can help them continue providing electricity by reducing their power demand during that time. He said they can turn their air conditioning up by a few degrees, which can also help people save money on power bills.
The TVA said it has staff on-site 24 hours per day which monitor equipment, and they also said they have remote sensors to make sure their systems continue working. They also said they can quickly dispatch technicians to issues seeing issues, ensuring homes continue getting electricity during periods of high demand.
"This is kind of like the first inning of the baseball game," said Fiedler. "We've got a long, hot summer to go. And we're preparing for the next event because it's going to happen. And we just want to make sure that everybody knows that we're here to ensure that this power keeps flowing."
He said that generally, around 57% of TVAs electricity production was generated without producing harmful carbon levels, with most of that electricity coming from nuclear facilities. They also generate electricity with hydroelectricity facilities, solar plants and with wind power.
He also said they are in the process of adding more solar plants. But before they are able to do that, they need additional natural gas facilities to ensure that the TVA continues reliably producing electricity while the process of switching to nonpolluting electricity sources.