Record lows bring snow, ice: school closed, salt stable
The temperature dropped more than 30 degrees Sunday night ushering in snow, ice, and the coldest temperatures Franklin County has seen in more than a decade.
The weather conditions also prompted Duck River Electric Membership Corp. to issue a peak demand advisory and advice about how consumers could conserve energy to decrease overall usage throughout the system.
Dr. Rebecca Sharber, Franklin County schools director, also said classes throughout the system will not be held today due to the weather. However, she said the system’s central office will remain open and certified employees would be on duty. In addition, the extended school program sites to accommodate students whose parents are working would be open. “The roads are dangerous in some areas and with the temperatures staying so low today we do not expect to see them improve enough to run the busses tomorrow,” Sharber said Monday while determining whether school would be held. Conditions on the main roads in the county were pretty good for the morning commute, but officials are cautioning drivers to take extra care on secondary roads today that could still be slick and dangerous.
Franklin County Highway Department Superintendent Johnny Woodall said that roads had been salted and most were in good shape.
Estill Springs Baptist Church was covered in a dusting of snow and ice after the mercury plunged more than 30 degrees placing temperatures in the single digits Sunday night.
“We started snow removal up on mountain and salting of the main roads at about 8 p.m. Sunday evening,” he said. “The main roads are in good condition, but secondary roads may still be iced over.”
Workers were out until the wee hours of Monday morning prepping the roads. Salt is now lying beneath snow and ice in some locations, but officials say that they can’t do anything more at this point.
“We have plenty of salt, but we can’t do much more until it reaches 24 or 25 degrees,” Woodall said. “If we try to plough or put down more salt when it’s this cold it could make things worse.”
Officials say with temperatures this cold trying to do more could make driving conditions even more treacherous.
“If we put more salt down now to melt snow, and then water freezes over the top of it that could make conditions worse, because then you are trying to drive on a sheet of ice,” Woodall said.
Drivers are being urged to give themselves extra time for the morning commute and to call 511 for updates on road conditions.
DREMC braces for
peak demand today
A stretch of the coldest temperatures in several years has hit Middle Tennessee and along with that, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation could experience a system-wide peak of record unless steps are taken to reduce demand.
Co-op members are asked to conserve power, especially during the projected peak period of 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. today.
DREMC’s new Beat the Peak™ program — more than 4,200 households strong — will be activated. Industrial and commercial customers in the ENERNOC program will be contacted about reducing demand, and the co-op’s offi ces will curtail power use.
“There is not a shortage of electricity,” DREMC President/CEO Michael Watson said. “This peak of record will have an economic impact by driving up the demand component of the wholesale rate.”
The bill DREMC pays the Tennessee Valley Authority for wholesale power has two parts — energy and demand.
Demand charges can be affected by monthly, annual and historic peaks. These periods of high demand can cause the price of wholesale power to ratchet up, going from 7 to 8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to more than $9 per kWh.
The cost of wholesale power accounts for about 70 cents of every dollar paid to DREMC by its members.
“The times you use electricity — not just the amount you consume — impacts how much Duck River Electric must pay for wholesale power,” Watson said. “You won’t immediately see the peak’s effect on your electric bill. Inevitably, this additional cost must be accounted for in the overall rates.”
A peak that occurred in 2011 cost DREMC $450,000 in additional wholesale charges, according to Watson.
“This is why we have established residential and industrial-and-commercial demand response programs,” he said. “We want to do our best to avoid these peaks and save our members money.”
DREMC’s residential demand response program is called Beat the Peak™. It is a database of email addresses and texts of co-op members who have agreed to be notifi ed in advance of peak power events. They are asked to implement energy-saving measures that are simple and painless, but that can make a big difference in DREMC’s system demand during summer’s intense heat or winter’s freezing cold.
When they get a DREMC peak alert email, text or hear a DREMC peak warning on local radio this winter, there are simple measures to take for a few hours that can make a real difference in the cost of electricity:
Dial down the setting on your thermostat by three or four degrees. If it is normally at 72 degrees, reduce the heat setting to 68 degrees or lower. Remember that the peak period only will last a few hours, and then you can resume your regular heat setting.
Turn off lights and electrical devices in rooms that are not occupied. Installing energy-saving compact fl uorescent light (CFL) bulbs or LEDs would be a great way to help.
Delay the use of major appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers.
Postpone hot water use. In the winter, peaks are most likely to occur in the morning when folks are getting ready for work and school. Shift the time when hot water is used from the peak demand period. Wait until mid-morning or afternoon to do the laundry. Shave and shower before bed if a peak alert has been issued for the next day.
For more information about the co-op’s Beat the Peak™ program, go to www. dremc.com or read about it in
The Tennessee Magazine.
Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, headquartered in Shelbyville, Tenn., is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative serving 72,000 residences, businesses and farms.
District offices are located in Decherd, Columbia, Manchester, Sewanee, Shelbyville, Lynchburg and Lewisburg.