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Dominion Power Customers Cranked Up Heat, Smashed Winter Records During Cold Blast

How much extra electricity do you think you used during the deep freeze earlier this week?

Dominion Virginia Power customers set a winter record this week in the amount of power they used due to the freezing temperatures. Photo by Mary Ann Barton
Dominion Virginia Power customers set a winter record this week in the amount of power they used due to the freezing temperatures. Photo by Mary Ann Barton

What will your electric bill look like next month, after keeping the arctic blast at bay earlier this week?

Customers of Dominion Virginia Power cranked up the heat to stave off the "polar vortex," breaking winter records in the amount of electricity they consumed, according to the company.

The polar vortex brought sub-freezing temperatures to Northern Virginia Monday and Tuesday, bringing wind chills of 10 and 15 below zero prompting officials to close most area schools.

Tuesday, Dominion Virginia Power met a record winter peak demand for electricity from its 2.4 million customers while cold arctic air blasted the region, the company noted in a news release.

Dominion supplied 19,730 megawatts of electricity between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday. That's an increase of about 1,650 megawatts over the previous winter peak demand record of 18,079 megawatts, which was set between the same hours on Feb. 6, 2007, when Northern Virginia was hit by a surprise snow storm.

The all-time peak demand record is a summertime mark of 20,061 megawatts set on July 22, 2011, when temperatures soared to 105 degrees. One megawatt supplies enough electricity at peak for 250 homes.

In addition, Dominion also established an all-time record for energy usage over a 24-hour period. Total energy usage for Tuesday was 419,791 megawatts. The old record was 392,347 megawatt hours set on July 23, 2011, during a multi-day, 100-plus-degree heatwave.

From the start of the cold spell Monday evening through noon Wednesday about 35,200 Dominion customers lost power. While not all of these outages were directly attributed to this arctic weather, 1.4 percent of Dominion's 2.4 million customers in Virginia did experience a power interruption during the extremely cold weather. Dominion worked around the clock and has restored power to all of the affected customers.


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