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Why U.S. Power Forecasters Don’t Like Thanksgiving

Christopher Martin
Why U.S. Power Forecasters Don’t Like Thanksgiving

(Bloomberg) -- Thanksgiving is arguably a power demand forecaster’s least favorite day.

Holidays are always a bit tricky for grid operators to prepare for -- because schools and offices are closed and residential demand is less predictable. But Thanksgiving is probably the worst of them all.

That’s because Americans like to sleep in on Turkey Day, and then they travel at odd hours. People are blasting their increasingly electric ovens. And they’re, of course, watching football -- which is practically unavoidable. These all skew the typical power demand curve: Usage tends to peak around noon on this day, hours before it usually does. It drops off as families settle in for an early dinner and rebounds again for more football, according to PJM Interconnection LLC, operator of the largest U.S. grid.

“The day is literally like no other day of the year,” PJM senior meteorologist Elizabeth Anastasio said on the grid operator’s website. “This is a day that’s really challenging.”

In case you’re wondering: An average turkey requires about 8 kilowatt-hours to roast, according to PJM. That’s the equivalent of playing video games for 55 hours. Preparing mashed potatoes, casseroles and pies can easily double that demand, the grid operator said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Martin in New York at cmartin11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.net, Patrick McKiernan

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