The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


OPPD sets summer peak load record

October 9, 2023 | Terry Zank | generation
Woman adjusting a smart thermostat on white wall, closeup.

For the third year in a row, OPPD set a summer peak load record for electricity usage.

Simply put, peak load is the greatest amount of electricity being used at one time.

On Aug. 21, between 4 and 5 p.m., OPPD’s load reached a record 2,789.009 megawatts (MW). That exceeded the previous record set the month before – 2,670.124 MW on July 26 – by more than 4%.

The peak occurred during an abnormally warm period when the entire region experienced high levels of heat and humidity.

“We anticipate record peak loads will continue to happen every year,” said Mark Trumble, director of Energy Marketing & Trading.

“Extreme summer temperatures with humidity is part of the reason we went to OPPD’s board to ask for the funding to build more generation,” Trumble said. “We need to have the ability to produce more energy to meet demand, as well keep margin in reserve.”

Customers can help

OPPD has proactive measures in place to help decrease demand on high-energy-usage days, which helps keep costs down for customer-owners. A number of those measures were called into action as OPPD reached its peak.

For large commercial and industrial customers, the district offers curtailable rate programs that decrease load on the highest usage days, as well as the Advanced Rooftop Unit Controller Rebate Program and others.

On the residential side, Trumble cited programs like OPPD’s Cool Smart and Smart Thermostat programs.

Such programs enable customers to help conserve energy on the days it is most needed.

“With rising energy demand, it can truly take the entire community to pull together on extremely hot or extremely cold days,” Trumble said. “We’re adding generation, but our customers play an important part in the successful management of our system.”

Southwest Power Pool record

OPPD is part of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional transmission organization that manages the power grid in the central U.S. on behalf of a diverse group of utilities and transmission companies in 15 states.

SPP also set a new summer peak load record on Aug. 21  between 4 an 5 p.m.: 56,184 MW. Such peaks are a sign of regional growth and ever-increasing electrification.

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About Terry Zank

Terry Zank is a contributor to The Wire and senior digital channel specialist at OPPD, where he has worked for 30 years. He and his wife have three sons. Terry enjoys bike riding, playing racquetball, hiking, watching college football, watching great movies from years’ past, and citing quotes from those movies, much to his family’s chagrin.

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