Power Grid Operators Ready For Operation Overload Super Bowl Sunday

WOAY-TV (Oak Hill, WV): Electric companies are ready to meet the demands of millions as Super Bowl Sunday nears.

PJM, the country’s largest grid operator, keeps track of the electric load (megawatts of power) for the Mid-Atlantic and Chicago area. PJM issued a cold weather alert ahead of the bitter cold blast in mid-January when they were expecting a strain on the power grid due to heating demand.

Besides keeping records of electric load on the grid for bitter cold and dangerously hot weather, PJM keeps tabs on electrical usage during the holidays and Super Bowl Sunday. Why? A large number of folks use stoves, ovens and kitchen appliances all at once during these key times of the year (holidays). PJM needs to be ready to keep up with the demand.Why do they care about Super Bowl Sunday? Approximately 100-million people will be watching the big game and adding strain to the system.

On a typical Super Bowl Sunday, demand starts at 80,000 megawatts and ramps up to 90,000 megawatts after folks wake up, get their coffee and start to use electrical appliances.

The real deal power usage occurs between 3-6 p.m. as food preparation in the kitchen gets underway. The peak load occurs at 6 p.m., with 94,000 megawatts being used in the Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest (Chicago area).

Believe it or not, the load factor diminishes as soon as the Super Bowl begins because the food has been cooked and stoves and ovens are turned off. Televisions, which use far less power than kitchen appliances, are turned on. The next spike in electricity occurs as soon as the second quarter ends. Load factor decreases during the Halftime show and continues to slowly decline during the second half of the game.

CLOSE GAME OR BLOWOUT? The score in the final minutes of the game determines the load factor on the power grid. A close matchup keeps people glued to the television and load declines. A blowout with the highest scoring team guaranteed to win sends people to the kitchen to cleanup and the load increases.

Just keep in mind that if it wasn’t for the extra resources behind the scenes making sure our televisions, stoves, ovens, microwaves and refrigerator are powered on Super Bowl Sunday, you would not be able to watch the game without interruption from start to end!

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