Extreme winter weather impacts power reliability

Posted on Feb 18 2024 in Noble REMC
President and CEO

When outdoor temperatures drop, our electricity use increases. That’s because we’re doing more activities inside, and our heating systems are running longer and more often to counteract colder outdoor temperatures. Factor in that we all tend to use electricity at the same time — in the morning and in the early evenings — and that equals a lot of strain on our electric grid.

At Noble REMC, we work closely with our power supplier, Wabash Valley Power Alliance (WVPA), in resource and infrastructure planning to ensure you have the power you need whenever you flip a switch, but the electric grid is much larger than your local co-op and G&T.

In winter months, when even more electricity is being used simultaneously across the country, it is possible for electricity demand to exceed supply, especially if an unexpected event like a sudden snow or ice storm or equipment malfunction occurs. If this happens, which is rare, the grid operator for our region of the country may call for rolling power outages to relieve pressure on the grid, and Noble REMC will inform you about the situation.

Noble REMC and WVPA take proactive steps to create a resilient portion of the grid and ensure electric reliability in extreme weather, including regular system maintenance, grid modernization efforts and disaster response planning. However, it takes everyone to keep the grid reliable.

To help keep the heat on for you, your family and neighbors, here are a few things you can do to relieve pressure on the grid (and save a little money along the way):

  • Charge electric vehicles between 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. to cut demand and energy costs during peak hours. Give us a call for more details on how to save money through our EV time-of-use rate.
  • Stagger your use of major appliances such as dishwashers, ovens and dryers.
  • Ensure that your heating system is optimized for efficiency with regular maintenance, as well as proper insulation.
  • When possible, use cold water to reduce water heating costs.
  • Unplug devices when not in use to eliminate unnecessary energy use. Even when turned off, electronics in standby mode consume energy.

As we face the challenges posed by winter weather, understanding its impact on energy demand is crucial for maintaining a reliable power supply. By adopting energy conservation practices during periods of extreme cold, not only can you save money on your electric bills, but you can also each contribute to the resilience of the power grid, keeping our local community warm and connected.