13:55 PM

Jackson EMC Hits New Record for Electricity Use

Jackson EMC members set a new record for electricity use on Wednesday as high summer temperatures and humidity drove up energy demand. The new record came as the heat index neared 110 degrees and more people turned to air conditioning for relief, which increases the demand for electricity. 

The new record occurred between 4-5 p.m., when temperatures are typically at a peak during the summer. Wednesday’s electrical demand for 1,345 megawatts surpassed Jackson EMC’s previous record of 1,293 megawatts set in January 2014 during a winter polar vortex.  

Jackson EMC closely monitors the electric system during periods of extreme temperatures to ensure members continue to receive reliable service.  

“Our power distribution system performed well under this week’s higher-than-normal demand for electricity,” said Jonathan Weaver, Jackson EMC’s director of system engineering. “We’re prepared for higher demand periods and we didn’t experience any issues with this new record. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on our system as extremely high temperatures are expected to continue in to next week.” 

To best manage the additional energy needs caused by higher temperatures and humidity, Jackson EMC takes steps to reduce the cooperative’s electric demand and encourages members to do the same.  

Through its load management program, Jackson EMC helps decrease its peak demands on the hottest days. The load management program is a voluntary program that briefly cycles off residential and commercial members’ equipment, such as air conditioners and heat pumps, in order to help control peak electrical demand. Load management helps reduce the overall highest electricity demand when temperatures are extremely high. 

Due to higher-than-normal summer temperatures, so far this year the cooperative has run load management four times. By this time last year, load management had run only once.  

As Jackson EMC manages demand, members can also take steps to reduce their energy use. Managing energy use will reduce demand and may reduce members’ bills.  

Stay Cool for Less 

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees. Nearly half of the electricity used in homes goes to condition the air inside.  
  • Don't turn off the air conditioner when you're gone; instead set it higher. Turning it off makes the system work harder to overcome the heat built up in a house when you turn it back on. 
  • Use a programmable thermostat. Set it to bring your home's temperature down to 78 degrees 30 minutes before you get home. 
  • Replace air conditioner filters now, then once a month. The dirtier the filter, the harder your heat pump must work. 
  • Lamps, televisions or anything that creates heat needs to be kept away from the thermostat, as they will impact its accuracy. 
  • Don't block vents with furniture or other objects. 
  • Use ceiling fans when you are in a room to provide additional comfort; they also provide better circulation, which reduces air conditioning costs. 
  • Trim foliage around the air conditioning condenser to allow adequate airflow around the unit. 

Reduce Heat Inside 

  • Restrict use of heat-producing appliances like ovens, dishwashers and dryers to the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler outdoors. 
  • Grill outside or use a microwave or toaster oven. A toaster oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a regular oven and releases less heat into the home. 
  • Turn off heat-generating devices when not in use — including lamps, televisions and computers. 
  • On warm days, close blinds and drapes, especially in south or west-facing windows which allow in the most heat. 

Cut Energy Use Everywhere Else 

  • Activate “sleep” features on computers and office equipment that power down when the equipment is not in use. 
  • Do full loads when you use clothes washers, dryers and dishwashers. 
  • Use dimmers, timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting. 
  • Replace lightbulbs with LED bulbs, which burn longer and produce less heat. 

Plan Long-term 

  • Plant deciduous trees to shade the south or west side of your house. 
  • Insulate floors, walls and attics to keep cooler in summer and warmer in winter. 
  • Get your air conditioner tuned-up. Consider a maintenance contract that provides a checkup twice a year, prior to peak cooling and heating seasons. 
  • If your HVAC unit is 10 years old or more, consider replacing it. Newer models are more energy efficient and may lower your electric bill. Jackson EMC offers rebates and low-interest loans for qualifying members. More details about these programs are available at www.jacksonemc.com/rebates.  

For more money-saving tips, check out the list at www.jacksonemc.com/waystosave. 

 Jackson Electric Membership Corporation, the largest electric cooperative in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation, is headquartered 50 miles northeast of Atlanta in Jefferson, Ga. The cooperative serves more than 248,000 meters on 14,000 miles of energized wire. For more information, visit jacksonemc.com.