Amid heat wave, Oklahoma electric utilities ready for higher demand
Electric companies don't expect to shatter peak-demand records set last summer, but this week's forecast could change those expectations.
Electricity companies are already halfway through the peak summer months and are looking at a week of continued triple-digit temperatures that could push demand higher.
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At a glance
Customers can take several steps to reduce electricity demand and lower bills, according to Oklahoma utilities:
Utilities aren't expecting to shatter demand records like they did last year — at least not yet. But they're getting close.
Public Service Co. of Oklahoma had its highest peak-demand day of the summer so far July 19, with 4,200 megawatts of electricity. The company's forecast for this week is around 4,300 megawatts each day, said spokesman Stan Whiteford.
PSO, which has 520,000 customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma, set a peak demand record of 4,411 megawatts almost a year ago on Aug. 3.
Adding to the electricity demand for Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. will be the return of Oklahoma City Public Schools, where students start the new school year Wednesday.
OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said the utility recently has seen peak demand between 6,700 and 6,800 megawatts.
The utility, with more than 789,000 customers in Oklahoma and Arkansas, set an all-time peak demand record of 7,057 megawatts last summer.
“With this extended heat, we would expect to see our numbers begin to creep closer and closer to that number, especially as Oklahoma City Schools ramp up this week,” Alford said. “You'll continue to see loads increase as most of the metro districts will be in full swing around the middle of the month.”
This is the time of year when most Oklahoma utilities see their highest demand. It's no different at the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, which provides electricity to 39 cities across the state.
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