When we think about the Sunshine State and electricity consumption, we are inclined to picture high demand for energy on a steamy July afternoon. It seems logical to pay special attention to safeguarding your business from power outages during the summer months. While it is important to make sure that energy demand on an exceptionally hot and humid summer afternoon doesn’t stop your workday, winter demand can be just as high.
As Floridians we get cold when the temperature drops much below 70°. You’d be surprised how many space heaters and electric blankets get turned on in our state, not just up north in Jacksonville but down south in Miami and Melbourne also. In fact TECO and Progress Energy, the utility providers for the majority of central Florida, report record single-day electricity usage records as being the result of a cold front in January of 2010, not one of our notoriously hot summers.
Winter Electricity Demand
As always, record demands can easily lead to blackouts. Power outages caused by high demand for energy tend to happen at the beginning of the day. Think about it: demand will be high all night when thermostats are set to warm the house along with other heating elements. Then everyone wakes up and turns on televisions, radios and hot water heaters that all need even more energy without turning off the heat. This surge in demand can cause the utility provider to scramble to supply enough power and often results in multiple power outages to start the day.
By the time the utility provider has mobilized their staff to fix the first outage, several others likely pile up, leaving some without power for the entire day if not longer. That is why electric companies make pleas to the community to limit consumption on a cold day. Think about it: power companies sell electricity for profit, so if they are asking you to use less electricity, they are basically admitting an inability to cover demand and warning that you will likely experience some form of disruption in power supply. Can your business afford to be put on hold for a day? Especially at a time of year where vacations are likely, so you need to get as much work done in a day as possible. Or at a time of year where your sales increase to the point that you become profitable?
The bottom line here is that at some point, your bottom line will depend upon your ability to produce electricity, at least for a limited amount of time. To do this you need to have a standby system or set of generators on hand that can handle your electricity demands. Don’t confuse winter months and lack of electrical demand. Yes, we are lucky enough in Florida to be able to turn the air conditioner off during many winter days. Don’t forget the peak days that create surges for the utility providers and ultimately everyone who needs electricity. We will leave you with a couple of facts.
Florida Energy Facts
- Florida’s per capita residential electrical demand is nearly the highest in the country. Utility providers have to meet demand for both residences and businesses, so you are not always guaranteed service.
- Electricity in Florida is dependent upon petroleum, so any interruptions in the gas supply chain can cause issues for our ability to do so much as turn on lights.