The recent heat wave didn't just set records on the thermometer. It also led to a new, all-time, single day record energy demand for the Turlock Irrigation District.
TID set the new record on July 2, using 618.3 Megawatts of power to meet customer demand. The demand exceeded the previous high, set in July of 2006, of 612 Megawatts.
The July 2 high temperature was only 104 degrees, but humidity levels were unseasonably high. Combined, the two drove TID customers to crank up their air conditioners, drawing record-setting amounts of electricity through district power lines.
High demand for electricity statewide led to a surge in wholesale power prices, up to $160 per Megawatt-hour in some areas. Summer electricity prices are generally closer to $40 per Megawatt-hour.
TID generated as much energy as their plants would allow to meet demand, but purchased some on the open market.
The heat also damaged TID equipment, causing three overhead and nine underground transformers to break down. High temperatures can damage transformer insulation, leading to electrical shorts.
Despite massive electricity demand across the state, California was able to avoid the sort of widespread blackouts common in the early 2000s.
“So overall, California looks like it has enough capacity to handle this sort of heatwave,” said TID Director Rob Santos.
“It did last week,” said TID Trading and Scheduling Division Manager Bill Bacca.