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Utilities report spike in demand during bitter cold

Two area utility companies saw an increased demand during the cold spell, but did not set any records.


Posted on Jan. 12, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 12, 2014 at 5:14 p.m.

ELKHART — Demand for energy during the bitter cold spell early last week tested two energy companies that serve parts of Northern Indiana, but it did not result in any records for demand.

Indiana Michigan Power was among many utility companies that were asked by PJM Interconnection — an electricity grid operator serving more than 61 million people in 13 states — to conserve electricity Tuesday.

Last week, the demand for wintertime power peaked Jan. 6 at 7:00 p.m. at approximately 3,656 megawatt, according to a statement issued by Indiana Michigan Power.

Peak demand for I&M power normally occurs in the summer during extreme heat. The utility’s record peak of 4,844 megawatts was set July 21, 2012.

According to I&M, homes heated by natural gas still tend to see electric consumption rise because furnaces operate more often, the utility company explained in a statement.

A spokesperson for Northern Indiana Public Service Company said the utility took advantage of a voluntary program with large users to help reduce usage of natural gas.

The program was enacted Monday and Tuesday, said Kathleen Szot, communications manager for NIPSCO.

Szot declined to disclose the names of customers or how much consumption was reduced.

That program, combined with the fact many businesses and a factories temporarily closed during the extreme cold, helped cut consumption, Szot said.

NIPSCO did not have consumption statistics available late last week.



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