The Pacific Northwest’s continued below-freezing temperatures pushed Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to another record natural gas sendout Friday, surpassing one the utility set earlier in the week. PSE said natural gas demand hit 780,000 MMBtu on Friday, compared to 755,881 MMBtu last Tuesday.

Friday’s peak electricity usage for PSE was 4,772 MW at 6 p.m., short of the record set Dec. 15 of 4,906 MW, which exceeded a power demand marker that had stood for a decade at the combination utility (see Daily GPI, Dec. 18).

“PSE has sufficient supplies of electricity and natural gas to meet this week’s exceptional demand,” a spokesperson for the Puget Energy utility said. “Anticipating this weekend’s high winds and cold temperatures, PSE crews and employees are on alert to respond to any customer electric outages or natural gas emergencies.”

The utility began alerting customers before last weekend that the severe cold snap means that their utility bills will be higher, so they should try to use energy wisely, particularly during the peak periods of customer demand — 6:30-9 a.m. and 4-7:30 p.m.

PSE reminded customers that there are several programs to help qualifying households pay their higher monthly energy bills, and said its natural gas and electricity infrastructure was holding up very well under the severe weather conditions. Utility officials said they did not anticipate any problems serving their more than 1 million electric and 750,000 gas utility customers spread over 11 counties in western Washington state.

©Copyright 2008Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.