The frigid outdoor temperatures were not the only records broken — a record amount of electricity was consumed.
The rapid consumption of electricity to fend off the cold and boredom sent power suppliers scrambling Tuesday to meet the rising demand.
PJM Interconnection, the electricity grid operator for more than 61 million people including Akron in 13 states and the District of Columbia, called on the public Tuesday to curtail their use of electricity to avoid rolling blackouts.
“Extreme cold is driving power use to record levels for the winter and has also caused some generating plants to shut down unexpectedly,” PJM announced. “[Tuesday] morning, the estimated peak broke the record for the previous winter peak.”
The rising demand, prompted electric and natural gas utilities to ask customers to turn off lights and appliances and turn back thermostats.
Jennifer Young, spokeswoman with FirstEnergy Corp., said such requests to curb electricity typically come during the hot summer months.
When temperatures are cold, furnaces and space heaters are working more, Young said, and appliances, lights and other devices are used more often when more people are staying home because of school and business closings.
Young said FirstEnergy’s Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant’s Unit 1 went offline around 5 p.m. Monday because of a problem with the main transformer, which takes the power produced by the plant and converts it to voltage to be used in the distribution system.
There was not a nuclear plant issue and FirstEnergy officials are working on determining the issue with the transformer, she said. The unit remains offline.
Dominion East Ohio officials asked the public Tuesday to voluntarily turn down thermostats and lower settings on hot water heaters as a precautionary measure.
Spokeswoman Tracy Oliver said the request was out an “abundance of caution” and the utility has not experienced any unusual supply concerns.