Throughout the Midwest and East Coast, temperatures bottomed out in early January 2014 from a polar vortex, and electricity demand shot through the roof.

Georgia Power saw its highest winter peak demand ever on Tuesday, Jan. 7. Estimated preliminary peak demand was 16,859 megawatts (MW), exceeding the previous record of 15,806 MW. Dominion Virginia Power also set a record winter peak the same day; the utility supplied 19,730 MW of electricity, an increase of about 1,650 MW over its previous record. 

That outages weren’t worse is a testament to utilities’ ability to forecast demand and prepare for extreme weather, making use of qualified technicians and contractors when more manpower is needed.

“Weather such as this reinforces the need for us to continue to invest in our infrastructure including multiple sources of generation and advanced smart grid technologies,” said John Pemberton, senior vice president and senior production officer, Georgia Power.