/PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company today (January 11) announced it has set its third record for winter peak demand in the past seven days. Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. EST, preliminary peak demand for electricity averaged approximately 37,224 megawatts, exceeding by 1,363 megawatts Southern Company's January 6 winter time peak of 35,861 megawatts. Today's peak also exceeds Southern Company's 2009 summer peak demand, which was 36,505 megawatts.
"While last summer was cooler than normal, it is still very unusual in our part of the country for a winter peak to be higher than a summer peak," said Greg Darnell, Southern Company Generation Fleet Operations manager.
According to Darnell, the primary contributor to the record loads of the past week was "sustained cold temperatures." Monday morning's "system temperature" - the average temperature weighted across five cities in Southern Company's service territory - was 18 degrees Fahrenheit, with especially cold readings in the coastal region of the service territory. The "system temperature" had been 19 degrees last Wednesday, Jan 6, and 18 degrees Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Last Wednesday's peak exceeded the record of 35,580 megawatts set last Tuesday, between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. EST, by 281 megawatts. The Tuesday peak had surpassed by 139 megawatts Southern Company's previous winter record of 35,441 megawatts set Feb. 5, 2009.
System peak demand is an indicator of how hard Southern Company's generating plants are working and what is required to ensure the reliable supply of electricity needed by customers. The peak demand number reported by fleet operations represents the average peak demand for electricity generated during a one-hour period and reflects the retail and wholesale obligations of Southern Company.
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