Air conditioning. A cold glass of iced tea. A ceiling fan. Electricity is important year-round, but there is something about summer that makes it even more crucial.
This was a hot summer. It began with a May that was 83 percent hotter than last year, and June, July and August provided little relief. Hot weather brings with it a surge in demand for energy. With air conditioning, refrigeration and pool pumps putting added strain on our systems, I am pleased to report that the power grid serving Tennessee’s electric cooperatives met the summer power needs of the communities we serve. I commend our co-op teams for the planning, preparation and work required to keep the lights on and our communities cool through this long, hot summer.
With the intensity of summer in Tennessee largely behind us, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on what makes the modern power grid truly impressive.
It adapts to real-time changes in demand.
Whether it is a sweltering summer day or a mild fall evening, the power grid adapts to meet the real-time needs of our communities. Power cannot be efficiently stored, so it must be generated and delivered to your home or business the very moment you need it. Sometimes you need more; sometimes you need less. Regardless, the grid adapts to those moment-by-moment needs.
It is remarkably reliable.
I know that, despite our best efforts, sometimes the power does go out. Fortunately, that is relatively unusual. Even so, we’re continuing to invest in the system and adapt our processes to minimize power interruptions.
It is getting smarter.
Tennessee’s electric cooperatives have invested and continue to invest in technologies to help us operate a more efficient, reliable and secure power grid. From remote switches and monitors along the distribution system to communication and control systems in our substations, we have access to more data and information about the status of our power system than ever before. This allows us to make better decisions to keep rates low and reliability high.
As an official with the Tennessee Valley Authority recently told a reporter, summer in the South is the Super Bowl for utilities. It is what we prepare for all year. I am pleased that we navigated the challenges of this hot summer — and even more pleased that cooler weather is approaching.
You and your family can be confident that the team at your local electric cooperative will be there, working around the clock to meet your power needs, regardless of the temperature.