Electricity usage patterns are different on Thanksgiving and Black Friday compared to other weekdays, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The usage has two peaks on most weekdays in November — one in the morning and a higher one in the evening. On Thanksgiving, usage is highest in the late morning as families cook meals and gather to celebrate the holiday, while the usage on Black Friday tends to be more like a weekend day.
The overall usage for Thanksgiving is typically lower than other weekdays because most businesses are closed. Simultaneous electricity usage in the residential and commercial sectors lead to peaks in electricity demand. The morning peak usually happens when people wake up in the morning, and the evening peak takes place when people return home to prepare food, heat their homes or watch TV.
Total electricity demand is usually lower on weekdays than on weekend days, which have different usage patterns. Electricity usage on Black Friday tends to follow the same pattern that happens on a weekend day. Variances in Thanksgiving electricity demand are often related to the weather, and how much energy was used to heat homes.
The EIA tracks heating demand based on heating degree days, or the difference in temperature from 65 degrees Fahrenheit. In the week of Thanksgiving 2017, heating degree days ranged between 15 and 20 for the lower 48 states, and this represented that temperatures were in the range of 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For the week of Thanksgiving 2018, heating degree days are expected to be 150, or 24% more than last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The higher the number of the heating degree days, the colder the weather.