CUSTOMER DEMAND RECORD AUGUST 3, 2011
SHREVEPORT, La., August 5, 2011 - Extreme summer temperatures of well over 100 degrees and high humidity across Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas sent usage of electricity by customers of AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) to a new all-time high level. A new peak customer demand was established Wednesday, August 3, 2011, with a record 5,542 megawatt (MW) load on the SWEPCO system. Additional high demands were set on August 2 with 5,457 MWs, and August 1with 5,369 MWs. The old record of 4,994 MWs was set on August 11, 2010. The 2009 record was established on July 13 with a 4,750 MW load. SWEPCO has topped the 5,000 MW demand mark seven times so far this summer.
The record 5,542 MW load was set August 3 at 5:00 p.m. when the Shreveport temperature was 109 degrees. SWEPCO’s new peak demand is 8.0 percent over the projected load for the summer. A megawatt is a million watts, or enough energy to supply power to about 250-500 homes in the summer heat. SWEPCO is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a regional reliability council within the Eastern Grid, with over 50,000 megawatts of electric generation available to serve some 4.5 million customers across 40,000 miles of transmission lines in seven states.
Many SWEPCO customers will see higher electric bills because of the continued hot weather, increased electricity usage in August, and higher natural gas costs. Company representatives will work on an individual basis with customers experiencing difficulty paying an electric bill.
Customers may want to take advantage of SWEPCO’s Average Monthly Payment (AMP) plan, which allows residential customers to pay approximately the same amount each month for their electric service. Also, the company’s Neighbor To Neighbor energy assistance program helps families pay their electric bills during times of special need, such as extreme hot temperatures or financial emergencies. SWEPCO provides ongoing support by contributing annually to the program during the summer months ($50,000 was given in 2011). Since the program began in 1993, almost $2.0 million dollars in funds generated from SWEPCO and over 10,000 of its customers have helped some 19,500 families in SWEPCO’s service area. Contact SWEPCO 24 hours a day toll-free at 1-888-216-3523 for details on these programs.
SWEPCO’s utilizes Wyoming low-sulfur coal and locally-mined lignite at four of its 11 power plants in its three-state service territory for 85 percent of its power generation, with the remainder of its energy needs coming from natural gas. The Stall Unit at Arsenal Hill, a 508-MW combined cycle, natural gas unit in Shreveport, joined the SWEPCO fleet last summer, providing additional capacity to meet the energy needs of customers in three states. The John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant, a 600-megawatt ultra-supercritical coal unit, is currently under construction in Southwest Arkansas. The Turk plant is over 70 percent complete, and will begin commercial operation in October 2012.
SWEPCO serves 520,400 customers within a 33,000 square-mile service area. SWEPCO has 225,700 customers in Northwest and Central Louisiana, 180,000 in East and North Texas and 113,700 in western Arkansas.