The 24-hour period between 8 a.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday was 16 degrees colder for the average Intermountain Gas customer than the annual average coldest day over the past decade, said Cheryl Imlach, the company’s manager of energy utilization.
Intermountain Gas bases these calculations on customer density as well as temperatures, Imlach said. For example, Ashton is colder than Boise, but it has a lot fewer customers, so Boise’s temperatures carry more weight in the calculations.
The coldest day on Intermountain’s records was Dec. 21, 1990. That day was 12 degrees colder for the average customer than last week’s Thursday-Friday period, Imlach said.
During the coldest 24-hour period last week, Intermountain Gas customers used 377,000 decatherms — about 42 percent more energy than average peak winter usage, Imlach said. A decatherm is an energy measurement equal to about 1 million BTUs.
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Intermountain Gas actually sold less gas on Dec. 21, 1990, Imlach said, but the utility had far fewer customers then.
Idaho Power saw demand for its power peak about the same time as Intermountain’s peak. On Friday morning, with temperatures dipping to around 10 degrees below zero, the utility’s total electricity output reached 2,527 megawatts, spokesman Brad Bowlin said Monday. That’s just barely shy of Idaho Power’s all-time winter peak record of 2,528 megawatts, set Dec. 10, 2009.
Idaho Power serves most of southern Idaho and a slice of eastern Oregon. Average demand in December and January is 1,600-1,900 megawatts, Bowlin said.
Because of air conditioning and the fact that so many customers heat their homes with gas, summertime peaks are higher for Idaho Power. Summer peaks average about 3,000 megawatts, Bowlin said. The all-time peak demand was 3,407 megawatts, a record set July 2, 2013.
Power, gas bills straining your budget?
▪ Set your thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees when you’re home.
▪ Turn thermostat down to 58 degrees for when you’re sleeping or not at home
▪ Install programmable setback thermostats that automatically lower and raise the temperature based on when you’re awake, sleeping, at home or away.
▪ On sunny days, open the curtains and blinds to let the sun warm your home. At night, close the curtains to trap heat inside.
▪ Keep furniture and curtains away from heat registers and baseboard heaters.
▪ Clean or change your furnace filters once a month during heating season.
▪ Have your furnace professionally tuned-up and cleaned once a year.
Sources: Idaho Power, Intermountain Gas