The bitter cold snap that dropped parts of Arkansas into subzero temperatures and left Little Rock with a low of 2 degrees early Friday triggered the heaviest winter electricity use ever seen by Southwest Power Pool, the Little Rock power grid and electricity market organization.
SPP’s electricity load topped 47,000 megawatts on Dec. 22, outpacing the previous record of 43,661 MW set in February 2021, the not-for-profit regional transmission organization announced Friday. The February 2021 winter storm was the event that overwhelmed the Texas power grid, causing blackouts that contributed to nearly 200 deaths and brought intense scrutiny on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, better known as ERCOT, which oversees the Texas grid.
The current cold led SPP to declare an Energy Emergency Alert 1 on Friday, but the emergency status ended at 10 a.m. A weather advisory for the SPP Reliability Coordination footprint remains in effect through noon on Sunday, Christmas Day.
SPP said no mandatory energy conservation was initiated, and that it has enough generation capacity available to meet demand, despite the cold.
End-use customers in the SPP region should follow their local utilities’ instructions regarding the potential for outages, the need to conserve electricity or natural gas, and other steps to ensure their safety and the integrity of the regional grid, SPP said in a media statement.
“SPP is coordinating closely with our members and market participants and will continue to monitor the situation as extreme cold persists throughout the region,” the release said.