In the lower 48 states, the pattern of electricity use for Thanksgiving “reflects the holiday’s popular activities,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
On a typical weekday, electricity use reaches a small peak in the morning and a larger peak in the afternoon. But on Thanksgiving, the largest peak is at midday “as many Americans gather to celebrate the holiday,” according to the EIA.
Many businesses and offices are closed, and this lowers electricity demand. However, at home, people operate ovens and other electric cooking equipment to prepare for the holiday meals, leading to the spike in electricity near midday.
The day after Thanksgiving has been unique as well. Electricity usage on Black Friday is similar to a weekend day.
In fall and winter, most U.S. regions have a small peak in the morning “as people wake up and prepare for the day and a higher evening peak when people come home from work, warm up their homes and cook or do household chores,” according to the EIA. Also, many businesses remain open in the evenings, “so peak electricity usage often occurs around 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.”
In Arkansas, according to the most recent data available, coal-fired power plants provided 54% of its electricity in 2014. Independent power producers supplied more than 18% of electricity in the state in the same year.