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Danville Utilities is requesting that its electric customers conserve power from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, June 18, Tuesday, June 19, and Wednesday, June 20, because of a peak alert issued by its wholesale power supplier.
A peak alert is not a notice of a shortage of electricity; it simply means that conditions will exist that may cause demand for electricity across the regional power grid that serves Danville to be at its highest point of the year.
These high load periods are the electric utility industry’s equivalent of rush-hour traffic. Transmission and generation capacity charges for Danville and other utilities are set, in part, during these periods of high demand. With each added megawatt used, utilities are billed thousands of dollars in peaking charges.
Danville buys power on the open market and is part of the PJM grid, or the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland Electric Regional Transmission Operator. Temperatures in communities across this region are expected to range from the low to upper 90s on Monday and Tuesday and from the upper 80s to low 90s on Wednesday.
In Danville, a high of 96 is forecast on both Monday and Tuesday and 93 on Wednesday.
PJM bases its generation capacity charges on the five highest peak usage hours from June through September. Peak usage in the summer likely will occur on hot and humid weekday afternoons when air conditioners are working extra hard to cool homes and workplaces.
In addition to generation capacity charges, Danville and other utilities incur added transmission costs during periods of peak demand. Danville’s transmission provider is American Electric Power (AEP).
AEP bases its transmission charges on the highest peak usage hour in a year. To date, the peak usage this year for Danville occurred on Jan. 2 when temperatures reached a daily record low of 2 degrees, eclipsing the previous record of 15 degrees set on Jan. 2, 1984. Danville Utilities’ load peaked at 217 megawatts that day.
A new peak is likely next week, with load forecasts as high as 224 megawatts on Monday afternoon, 226 megawatts on Tuesday afternoon and 218.7 megawatts on Wednesday afternoon.
American Municipal Power, the wholesale power supplier for Danville and more than 130 other members in five states, monitors the power grid and issues peak alerts as needed.
Customers can take simple conservation steps during peak periods: