Extreme summer temperatures of 100 degrees and above and high humidity across Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas last week 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 4, 2010, with a record 4,990 megawatt (MW) load on the SWEPCO system, breaking the old mark of 4,950 MWs set August 4, 2008, when the Shreveport temperature was 102 degrees.
The record 4,990 MW load (0.8 percent over the previous all-time high for the summer) was set at last Wednesday when the Shreveport temperature was 101 degrees. The SWEPCO peak load for 2009 was set on July 13, with a 4,750 MW load when the temperature in Shreveportwas 102 degrees. SWEPCO’s new peak demand is 1.5 percent under the projected load for the summer of 5,064 MW. A megawatt is a million watts, or enough energy to supply power to about 750 homes. SWEPCO is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a regional reliability council with over 50,000 megawatts of electric generation available to serve 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 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 across the company’s three-state service area in 2010). Since the program began in 1993, almost $1.9 million dollars in funds generated from SWEPCO and over 10,000 of its customers have helped some 18,500 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 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 on June 16 this summer, providing additional capacity to meet the energy needs of customers in three states.
SWEPCO Corporate Communications
Scott McCloud: 318-673-3532
Peter Main: 479-973-2526
Kacee Kirschvink: 318-673-3394