TENNESSEE VALLEY (WHNT) – As a heat wave grips the Tennessee Valley, the Tennesee Valley Authority is asking customers across the agency’s seven-state region to voluntarily reduce their power usage at certain times of the day.
Huntsville Utilities, which provides TVA-supplied power to customers across Madison County, said the policy will be in effect from 2-5 p.m. Monday. In voluntary curtailment, customers are asked to reduce electric consumption by turning off lights and not using major appliances during the hottest part of the day, such as ovens, dishwashers, washers and dryers, etc.)
Predicted temperatures are expected to be 95+ degrees across the Valley through Friday, and TVA is expecting voluntary curtailment to remain in effect daily until then. TVA spokesman Scott Fielder told News 19 that voluntary curtailment is standard policy during heat and cold waves and the regional power grid is stable; there is no immediate threat of blackouts or brownouts across the region. The curtailment is simply TVA and local power companies reducing power usage internally and an opportunity for customers to do their part and possibly save some money.
Summer energy use is typically the highest between 2-8 p.m., according to TVA. This is typically the warmest part of the day and when people arrive home from work or school; as a result, energy rates are typically at their highest during that point. The agency has several tips to reduce energy usage:
- Avoid running appliances during the hottest part of the day
- Ensure A/C units have clean air filters; dirty filters block cooler air and cause units to use more power than needed
- Minimize how often exterior doors and refrigerator doors are opened
- Use ceiling and floor fans to keep air moving, but only when a room is occupied; they use less power than an A/C unit
- Unplug unused or unnecessary electronics, even when off, they still use power if plugged in
- Recycle old appliances; TVA said older appliances are less energy-efficient than modern counterparts
- Switch to energy-efficient bulbs – not only do they use 75% less energy, but they put off less heat than old-school incandescent bulbs
- Turn up the thermostat – TVA recommends keeping the thermostat between 75-78 degrees during the day and even higher if no one is going to be home for a few days
- Keep curtains closed during the day on the south, west, and east sides of houses and apartments to block out sunlight
- Plant trees on the south or southwest side of houses to create shade and keep homes cooler
- Avoid using the oven and cook meals that require less heat from the stovetop or oven; consider using the microwave or air fryer
- Use the charcoal grill for outdoor cooking
Fielder added that these tips are useful any time during the year to keep customers’ wallets from getting scorched, too. In addition, TVA offers works with local power companies to offer energy audits at homes and businesses across the region, through its EnergyRight program. For those who may have trouble paying their bill during the heat wave, LIHEAP is a federally funded program that may be able to help. Information on local agencies can be found on TVA’s website.