by Toby Sells
Tennessee Valley Authority customers broke records for energy use last month, the energy provider announced Tuesday.
TVA said five of the top 10 energy usage days in its history were recorded in January and said this winter's "arctic cold" was the likely culprit. Energy use on Tuesday, January 7 was the highest in TVA history at nearly 703 gigawatt hours. The low temperature in Memphis that day was 1 degree and the high was 27 degrees, according to data from Weather Underground.
Other January dates in the TVA's top 10 were January 6, 28, 29, and 24.
The energy used on the five days in January totaled 3,399 gigawatt hours. That's enough energy to power the entire city of Nashville for 10 months, power a laptop computer for 5.9 million years, or send the "Back to the Future" Delorean through time 2,809 times.
Most of that power was generated at coal-fired energy plants (32 percent). Nuclear (24 percent) and gas power (21 percent) rounded out the top 3 TVA power sources for those days in January.
The power surge is good news for TVA as the company is coming off a soft season for energy use. Power use dips annually in October, November, and December, according to TVA's last quarterly earnings report, which covered those last three months of 2013.
TVA reported a net loss of $67 million on revenues of $2.3 billion in October, November, and December. The loss was an improvement over the same period last year when TVA saw a $245 million loss.
TVA provides electric power to public utilities in seven states including Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky.