Heat wave pushes Avista power demand to a record high




Posted on July 3, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 3 at 5:41 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--The nearly triple digit heat pushed Avista Utilities to a new record this week. Avista workers said people cranking up their air condition created a record high demand for power.

One megawatt provides enough energy to power about 750 Avista customers. However, on Tuesday one megawatt did not go as far because Avista Utilities hit an all time summer peak.

“We've had the ac on for the last three days,” said Avista customer Greg Vaughn. “We've actually slept in the living room. It's been so hot in our bedroom because we have all the fans in the kid's room.”

Vaughn said he has one air conditioning unit in a window and five fans blowing in his East Spokane home.

“Normally we don't because the electricity is so high, but it's been so hot,” said Vaughn.

Avista Utilities supplies the electricity. Company officials said the demand reached an all time summer high late Tuesday afternoon. Customers used 1671 megawatts between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., which is about 600 megawatts over the daily average according to Avista workers.

Avista reached its previous summer peak back in late July 2006 following three straight days of temperatures in the triple digits.

“It's always interesting when you set a new peak record whether it's summer or winter so we kind of thought that it may be coming on Monday based on the fact that we had had multiple days of 100 plus temperatures,” said Avista Communication Manager Debbie Simock.

She said Avista remains prepared to handle the load.

“We have plenty of energy to meet our customer demands without any problem,” added Simock.

The new summer power record has not surpassed the all-time winter high.