NorthWestern Energy Sees Peak Demand in Cold Snap

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – NorthWestern Energy says Montana’s recent cold weather produced an all-time high demand for both electrical power and natural gas by NorthWestern customers.

When an Arctic cold front blew into Montana on the weekend of Dec. 15 it drove temperatures into the sub-zero range.

“Companywide we hit the highest peak we’ve ever had” said the utility’s Vicki Judd. “It ran about 1,800 megawatts on December 15th, and the previous high was a little over 1,700.

“And in terms of our gas load, on Dec. 14 we had the highest reportable gas useage as well. In the range of 287,000 mcf (thousand cubic feet) of gas passed through our system.”

Judd said the system has been able to cope, with only minor power outages caused by the wind and snow load on the power lines.

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