El Paso Electric Customers Set a New Peak Demand for Electricity During Heat Advisory
New peak is the highest level of energy demand growth on record
El Paso, TEXAS – On Monday, July 13, 2020, El Paso Electric Company (EPE) customers set a new peak demand for electricity of approximately 2,173 megawatts (MW), 9.5% or 188 MW higher than the peak established in 2019. This is the highest level of energy demand growth on record and it also surpasses EPE’s 2020 peak demand forecast and reaches peak demand levels that were expected in 2026.
The new peak demand for electricity occurred between the hours of 4 and 5 p.m. as afternoon highs hit 110°F and became the hottest afternoon high so far in 2020. The El Paso region was under a 7-day heat advisory issued by the National Weather Service office in Santa Teresa, New Mexico and customers set new peak demand records nine times during that same period. It is a credit to our dedicated crews that modified operations and schedules to ensure the highly utilized generating facilities and overall grid was able to deliver the needed power to our customers as well as mitigate power outages.
Typical factors that lead to new peak demands include annual customer growth of 1.6%, continued adoption and conversion of refrigerated air conditioning from evaporated cooling, as well as increasingly hot weather with sustained heat. This year, due to the pandemic, and government issued shelter in place orders, more people are staying and working at home, so usage per residential customer has increased. A new annual peak has been set by EPE customers in 19 of the last 21 years.
“Meeting the energy needs of our customers in a safe and reliable manner is our number one priority. This year’s record-breaking increase in peak demand proves the need to further invest in and automate our grid, continue our capital investment program, and move forward with new planned generation to meet the increasing energy needs of our customers,” shares EPE interim CEO Adrian J. Rodriguez. “By 2023 we expect to add 320 MW of generating capacity from large solar facilities and a new state-of-the-art air-cooled natural gas-fired generation unit. One utility-scale solar facility will also utilize battery storage, a first for our utility. While we prepare for future growth, we are cognizant that an increase in energy use by our customers can also mean higher electricity bills. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, we ask our customers to contact us if they find themselves facing financial hardships during this time. We have financial options and numerous programs available to assist our customers.”
To learn more about payment assistance and options, please contact our Customer Care Team by email at CustomerCare@epelectric.com or by phone at (915) 543-5970 or (575) 526-5555.
About El Paso Electric
El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission and distribution service to approximately 436,000 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico. El Paso Electric's common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EE.