17:03 PM

Jackson EMC Set New Electricity Demand Record During Frigid Weekend Weather

The holiday weekend brought record-setting low temperatures across Jackson EMC’s 10-county service area. Members set a new record for electricity use on Saturday as low temperatures drove up energy demand. The new record came as the temperatures dropped into the single digits and more people ran their heating systems, which increased the demand for electricity.  

Our line crews and member services staff worked around the clock through the holiday weekend to restore power to more than 23,000 members who were impacted. Jackson EMC received assistance from 75 contract crew members and linemen from Hart EMC. 

“Any piece of equipment may operate just fine under normal use but could have problems when stressed by high demand and could cause some of our equipment to malfunction. This same situation occurs in extremely cold weather as when the temperatures are extremely high,” said Tommy Parker, managing director of operations.  “That stress caused approximately 130 transformers to fail. They were replaced within 48 hours. We appreciate the hard work and long hours put in by our employees, the understanding of their families over the holiday, and the patience of our members as we worked to restore power.” 

The new record occurred Saturday morning when the electrical demand for 1,525 megawatts surpassed Jackson EMC’s previous record of 1,345 megawatts set back in July when the heat index reached 110 degrees.  

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 weekend’s higher-than-normal demand for electricity,” said Jonathan Weaver, Jackson EMC’s director of system engineering. “We plan for higher demand periods, and we experienced few issues with this new record.” 

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

Because of increased energy use to heat homes during extremely cold weather, members are likely to experience higher bills in the coming month. Even if a thermostat is kept at the same temperature inside, the heat pump or furnace has to work harder when it gets colder outside - increasing energy use and energy bills as a result. Space heating and water heating are the two biggest drivers of energy use in most households, accounting for over 50% of a home’s energy use during the winter months. 

Members can log in to the MyJacksonEMC  website or app to check their energy use. As Jackson EMC manages demand, members can also take steps to reduce their energy use. Managing energy use will reduce demand and  reduce members’ bills.   

To save energy this winter, we recommend the following: 

  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. As a rule of thumb, your heating cost will increase 3% for each degree above 68 degrees. 
  • Only set your thermostat to “emergency heat” in the event the heat pump is not working. Since emergency heat costs nearly twice as much to operate, it should only be used in the case of system failure while awaiting repairs.  
  • Check and/or replace air filters every 1–2 months. Dirty or clogged air filters restrict airflow and cause your compressor to work harder, increasing costs. Clean filters save 5-15% on your electric bill.  
  • Do full loads when you use clothes washers, dryers and dishwashers.  
  • Turn off or unplug unused appliances or lights.  

 For more money-saving tips, visit 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 250,000 meters on 14,000 miles of energized wire. For more information, visit jacksonemc.com.