Memphians react after being told to keep thermostat at 60 degrees

(WMC) - Memphis homeowners are pushing back after their power company asked them to keep their thermostats at 60 degrees.

Tennessee Valley Authority initiated its Electric Load Curtailment Plan (ELCP) on Tuesday.

Arctic cold temperatures have moved into the service territory with temperatures reaching the teens.

This plan requires all customers in the TVA service territory to conserve their use of electric power as much as possible. Conservation during peak hours (6-9 a.m.) is to continue until notified by TVA.

MLGW is asking all electric power consumers--commercial and industrial--to cooperate in reducing power usage during this critical situation.

Consumers should:

  • Postpone using electric appliances such as dishwashers, dryers, and cooking equipment.
  • Reduce the use of electric heating by adjusting thermostats to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Turn off non-essential lights, appliances, and other electrical equipment.

TVA is using all available resources, including the purchase of available power from neighboring utilities.

As we brace for another cold night in the Mid-South, however, some Memphis homeowners are finding it difficult to turn down their thermostats.

"It's definitely a challenge here in Midtown because a lot of the heating companies coming out for burst pipes are telling you to crank your heat," said Linsey Lewellyn.

Lewellyn said she's doing her best to keep her heat down, but after battling frozen pipes already once this winter she is setting the thermostat anywhere between 69 to 71 degrees. Her Midtown home is more than 100 years old and drafty.

"You have to do what you can to conserve, but you can't have a frozen house," Lewellyn said.

TVA confirms they'll be asking all residents to conserve power again Thursday morning from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. TVA supplies all power to MLGW.

"People are using more energy, which puts a very high demand on the energy systems TVA has," said Gale Jones Carson with MLGW.

A TVA spokesperson said Wednesday that all conservation efforts are voluntary, but they're meant to help ensure that the grid continues running smoothly while maintaining a balanced level of energy service.

That's so TVA doesn't have to turn on additional generating units or buy power.

Wednesday morning, TVA provided 31,639 megawatts of power across the Tennessee Valley, the 11th highest winter peak on record in TVA's 85-year history, as power surged in the winter cold.

"They're just asking that we be energy conscious and not use as much," Carson said.

Some recommendations from MLGW include postponing the use of electric appliances like dishwashers and dryers and turning off non-essential lights and appliances.

TVA said every degree your electric thermostat is set below 68 degrees helps cut your use by three percent.

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