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When Is Missouri’s Electric Grid at Peak Use?

Missouri’s infamous weather can change drastically in a single day, so our Missouri Electric Cooperative Member-Owners know brutal heat waves and bitter cold equally well. Our weather may be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean that your electricity consumption is. In fact, our Member-Owners use power in a pretty predictable way.

Summer and winter are the two seasons of the year that put the most demand on Missouri’s electric grid, but certain times of the day during the spring and fall also bring increased demand. Keep reading to learn more about your peak times for power usage, and about how your Cooperative’s diverse portfolio of generation and transmission assets work together to keep your power on all year long.

Summer
Missouri summers aren’t just hot: they’re also humid. Running your air conditioner helps keep your family safe from extreme temperatures, and it also helps reduce mold and mildew by reducing the humidity in the air.

Not surprisingly, summer is one of the hardest seasons of the year on Missouri’s electrical grid (and on your pocketbook). Our Member-Owners hit peak load between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. and again from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. during the summer months.

Learn more: Energy Saving Tips for Summer

At the highest points during those peak hours, Missourians use nearly 3,000 kWh at a time from the grid — that’s nearly twice as much power as we use during our slowest times of the year (overnight in the Spring).

(Tip: Your power bills will reflect the amount of power you use, so expect your bill to be nearly twice as high during the hottest months of the year as it is in the mildest.)

Winter
Winters in Missouri can be very cold, and daylight hours are limited. From 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. and again from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., your family is among thousands of other families across the state who are using more power than at any other time of day. That’s when Missouri’s grid hits its wintertime peak load, and it’s the second time of year when your bills are likely to be high. 

Learn more: Six Ways to Save Money on Your Home Heating Bill This Winter

This “double humped” peak (morning and night) occurs before sunrise and after sunset, when the sun isn’t there to warm your home or business. Peak usage in summer and winter is comparable, hovering at around 2,900 kWh on average.

(Tip: You can ease the burden of that power use on your electric bills by budgeting in the milder months for higher bills in summer and winter.) 

Spring and Fall
Spring and Fall are kinder in Missouri than summer or winter are: temperatures are milder and humidity is lower. Families who live in well-insulated, efficient homes might even be able to leave the heater and air conditioner off for much of the spring and fall.

Peak load in the spring is much lower than peak load in the summer and winter, averaging at about 1,900 kWh. In fall, peak is only slight higher, at around 2,000 kWh. Peak spring hours are from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. and again from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Peak fall hours come just once each day, from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Energy Diversity to Meet Peak Load
Our primary goal as your Cooperative is to make sure that you have access to safe, reliable, affordable power. If we can’t meet your demand when you hit your peak load each season, then your power can go out, leaving your family uncomfortably hot in the summer or dangerously cold during the winter.

To make sure that doesn’t happen, we rely on a variety of energy sources in our power generation mix. We use renewables like solar and wind alongside baseload resources like coal and natural gas. We call this approach an “all-of-the-above” generation mix: we use all of the above energy sources to give you reliable electric.

Keep learning more about how your Cooperatives generate the electricity that powers your home or business. Come back to the blog for tips on budgeting for those extra-expensive electric bills in the heat of summer and the coldest parts of winter.

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Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

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