Lakeland breaks record for electric usage

- A new summertime record has been set in Lakeland, but it's not the number of swans that call downtown home. Lakeland Electric experienced its highest recorded use of electricity than any previous summer in the utility's history. And usage is expected to continue rising.

The City of Lakeland said the last record was set nine years ago.

FOX 13 Meteorologist Jim Weber said a particularly strong ridge of high pressure hovering over the southeastern U.S. was to blame - or thank - for the heat's factor in driving up utility usage. Dew points in the upper 70s make walking outside feel like stepping into a cup of warm pea soup, which is sure to have residents lowering the temperature on their thermostats. 

Couple the weather with an estimated eight-percent population growth per year since 2007, there are likely a lot more people using a lot more energy in the county's northwestern city - surrounded by Interstate 4. 

Lakeland Electric said required electricity production peaked late Tuesday afternoon, when temps reached 95 degrees, at 703 megawatts. The previous record was set on August 9, 2007 during the same time of day, at 700 MW. The temperature that day was recorded at 97 degrees.

Weber said the weather is expected to remain oppressive for at least the coming week, which is why Lakeland Electric is gearing up for even higher spikes in usage.

Lakeland Electric provided these tools to help customers control electricity usage and costs:
- Visit the Lakeland Electric website daily and review consumption data. By looking at when and how power is used, customers can make small changes to impact their usage and billing.
- Cooking on the grill instead of in the kitchen
- Keep the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher
- Washing laundry in cold water

Customers can review their personal electricity consumption data by doing the following:
- Go to the Home Page on www.lakelandelectric.com
- Click "Manage My Account" in the upper right corner
- Log into your account
- Click on "Data Tools" in the blue tool bar
- Click on the various tools to get a sense of how much you typically spend verses how much you are forecasted to spend this week

If customers have questions about their data, they can call the Lakeland Electric Call Center at (863) 834-9535.

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