Dominion Virginia Power Customers Shattered Winter Heat Records During Cold Blast

Monday to Tuesday saw some of the highest heat usage in the area's history.

Dominion Virginia Power customers set a winter record this week in the amount of power they used due to the freezing temperatures. (Photo: Mary Ann Barton)
Dominion Virginia Power customers set a winter record this week in the amount of power they used due to the freezing temperatures. (Photo: Mary Ann Barton)

What will your next electric bill look like, after keeping the arctic blast at bay earlier this week?

Customers of Dominion Virginia Power cranked up the heat to stave off the "polar vortex," breaking winter records in the amount of electricity they consumed, according to the company.

The polar vortex brought sub-freezing temperatures to Northern Virginia Monday and Tuesday, bringing wind chills of 10 and 15 below zero and prompting officials to close or delay opening most area schools.

Tuesday, Dominion Virginia Power met a record winter peak demand for electricity from its 2.4 million customers while arctic air blasted the region, the company noted in a news release.

Dominion supplied 19,730 megawatts of electricity between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday. That's an increase of about 1,650 megawatts over the previous winter peak demand record of 18,079 megawatts, which was set between the same hours on Feb. 6, 2007, when Northern Virginia was hit by a surprise snow storm.

The all-time peak demand record is a summertime mark of 20,061 megawatts set on July 22, 2011, when temperatures soared to 105 degrees. One megawatt supplies enough electricity at peak for 250 homes.

In addition, Dominion also established an all-time record for energy usage over a 24-hour period. Total energy usage for Tuesday was 419,791 megawatts. The old record was 392,347 megawatt hours, set on July 23, 2011, during a multi-day, 100-plus-degree heatwave.

From the start of the cold spell Monday evening through noon Wednesday, about 35,200 Dominion customers lost power. While not all of these outages were directly attributed to this arctic weather, 1.4 percent of Dominion's 2.4 million customers in Virginia did experience a power interruption during the extremely cold weather. Dominion worked around the clock and restored power to all of the affected customers.

Do you think you used significantly more energy this past week than usual? Chime in, in the comments below.


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Amber Fox January 11, 2014 at 07:57 AM
I don't feel like our heater was running any more than normal, but I'm sure this will be Dominion's excuse for sending me a $350 electric bill...
James McDonald January 11, 2014 at 09:54 AM
Amber, you are right. Even though I have never paid a bill personally (wife does, she just gets a % of my paycheck deposited to cover stuff), I might look at the next bill. I ran the heat around 71, even though I will probably be charged for running it at 90 :)


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