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Careful Planning Helps Keep the Lights On

As the temperatures rise and many seek the comforts of a climate-controlled room, the demand for electricity typically reaches its yearly peak during prolonged stretches of hot and humid summer weather. Careful planning to meet that demand takes place months before the muggy weather arrives, however.

Our power supplier, Wisconsin Public Power Inc. (WPPI), has scheduled all of the electricity it needs to meet the projected peak demand, plus reserve requirements, in all 36 of its member communities this summer.

Looking for trends over the past 20 years, WPPI uses a combination of historical data and sophisticated statistical models to project the demand for electricity among the more than 130,000 Wisconsin homes and businesses it supplies with power.

Throughout the past decade, it wasn’t uncommon for WPPI member communities to experience up to 4-percent growth annually. As the economy has slowed recently, WPPI forecasters are projecting about half that growth for the current year among its members.

WPPI anticipates a peak demand of 850 megawatts in 2002. While the state Public Service Commission requires all utilities to maintain an 18-percent reserve margin, WPPI also schedules an additional cushion to meet any other unexpected events.