Georgia Power hit peak-demand record during single-digit temps

Georgia Power said it set a new record for winter peak demand on Tuesday as a deep freeze gripped metro Atlanta and other parts of the state and country.

The utility said between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., estimated preliminary peak demand for electricity averaged about 16,859 megawatts, exceeding the company’s previous winter peak record of 15,806 MW on Dec. 14, 2010. Normal average winter peaks are several thousand megwatts below those figures.

Temperatures fell into single digits in metro Atlanta and North Georgia, prompting many districts to close schools. Georgia Power serves 2.4 million customers in all but four of the state’s 159 counties.

Before the cold spell hit, the utility said it made provisions for additional generation. The company also had power crews on call to deal with outages, according to spokeswoman Carol Boatright.

Boatright said the highest number of customers affected by outages at any one time was about 9,000, but the outages did not last for extended periods.

A week that began with metro Atlantans dodging black ice and enduring frigid temperatures, however, will end on a warmer but wet note, with the area receiving an inch or more of rain before tapering off Saturday, forecasters said.

Georgia Power is Atlanta-based Southern Company’s largest subsidiary.