December 17, 2008 in City, Idaho

Power use set record Tuesday

By The Spokesman-Review

Continuing cold temperatures led to record electric use Tuesday evening, Avista Utilities reported.

Between 6 and 7 p.m., Avista reached a peak load of 1,821 megawatts of electricity, breaking the previous record of 1,796 megawatts set in February 1996, when temperatures dropped to minus 22 degrees.

“A 13-year record fell,” said Debbie Simock, an Avista spokeswoman.

Demand for natural gas has also increased during the current cold spell, but Simock said no records for natural gas consumption were broken.

Avista is producing electricity at nearly all of its facilities, including hydropower dams, a coal-generating plant in Montana, natural gas-fired turbines in Eastern Oregon, and a wood-burning plant in Kettle Falls. But the utility has plenty of electricity to meet customers’ needs, said Hugh Imhof, Avista’s media and information manager.

Customers will see the results of higher electric use on their next bill. According to Simock, energy bills are typically highest in January and February.

Customers having trouble paying their Avista bills should call (800) 227-9187 to make payment arrangements.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email