|Arctic blast here ratchets up city’s electric demand|
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Mother Nature sent an arctic blast of cold air over the midlands Sunday night and Monday, dropping temperatures far into minus territory.
With the freezing weather, electric demand in Imperial reached record levels Monday morning.
Local weather observer Cory Schuller recorded a low of -18°F in the late hours of Sunday night, Dec. 14 . The low recorded Monday, Dec. 15 was -16°F.
Along with the cold came a heavy wind Sunday and about one to three inches of snow.
Local and state snow plows took to the streets and highways to clear the snow. Fortunately, no weather-related accidents were reported by either the Imperial Police Dept. or the Chase County Sheriff’s office.
But the cold set in for most of the day Monday, with a high of only 4°F.
As the cold front moved through, temperatures began to climb with a low of 3°F Tuesday and a high of 20°F.
Electric demand climbs with cold
City Public Works Superintendent Pat Davison said the cold brought on a record peak for Imperial’s electrical system.
Monday morning, he said the electric demand reached an all-time record at 8,100 kilowatts (Kw).
It didn’t stay there long but it did mark a new high for demand on the system.
He said the highest demand usually comes in the early morning hours from 7-8 a.m. as people rise and start to get ready for work or school.
With more people adding electric heating options over the years, Davison said the winter-time has increased.
In fact, earlier this month, a normal peak demand now runs about 7,300 Kw. This compares to the height of air conditioning season in the summer when the load measures about 6,300 Kw.
The increased winter load, coupled with a late corn harvest and the need to run dryer and circulation fans, drove electric sales to a record in November.
Davison said the city sold 3.5 million kilowatt hours (Kwh) in November—the most ever for one month on record.
Typically, sales run in the 3 million Kwh range from October to January or February.
Temperatures rose closer to normal for this time of year Wednesday, with morning temperatures around 17°F at 8 a.m.