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Cooperation Among Electric Grid Operators Helping to Meet High Demand for Power

Aug 11, 2005 - PJM Interconnection - Transmission & Distribution World

Mid-way through a hot, humid summer, electric grid operators across much of the country have managed increased demand for power by coordinating their efforts to ensure reliability and maintain system performance.

Grid operators responsible for managing the flow of wholesale power across the Eastern Interconnection–an area that stretches from the Rockies to New England and from Arkansas to Manitoba–have all reported record levels of electricity usage during this summer’s extreme heat and high humidity.

Thus far, their systems have met demand with few problems, although some organizations have asked consumers to conserve power during periods of peak usage. The grid managers credit coordinated efforts with their own members and with other independent system operators, or ISOs, for their continued ability to meet high demand and to maintain system performance and reliability.

Their experiences so far this summer in successfully meeting high demand for power should prove valuable throughout the remainder of the season, they added, as well as in preparations to meet future demands on their respective systems.

During daily conference calls, representatives of grid operators along the Eastern Interconnection discuss the day’s outlook and share data regarding projected peak demand for power within each system. In addition, numerous operating agreements between ISOs have improved coordination, particularly at seams along the borders of neighboring systems.

Under the agreements, the ISOs share critical operating data relating to the management of reliability and relief of congestion within their respective systems. The ISOs also share day-today planning data to ensure that each grid operator can recognize and manage the effects of its operations on adjoining systems.

Improved coordination among ISOs also creates opportunities to import or export power from one system to another, as needed, to meet demand for power. Grid operators across the Eastern Interconnection have reported new peak demands for power usage throughout the summer’s extended heat wave.

* PJM Interconnection, which operates the power grid for all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia, announced on July 26 that it had successfully met a peak demand for about 135,000 MW, a new record. PJM’s previous record peak demand was 130,574 MW, reached on July 18.

* On Aug. 3, the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (Midwest ISO), which manages the power grid for all or parts of 15 states and the Canadian province of Manitoba, successfully met a demand within its reliability footprint of 131,434 MW, topping the previous peak of 131,188 MW set on Aug. 2.

* The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) announced on July 26 that, for the second straight week, high heat and humidity drove statewide electricity usage to record levels. NYISO officials recorded a peak load of 32,075 MW on July 26, breaking the previous week’s record of 31,741 MW.

* ISO New England, Inc., (ISO-NE) which operates the bulk power grid serving the New England region, announced it had reached an all-time high on July 27, topping out at 26,922 MW. The previous record, of 26,749 MW, had been set on July 19. Prior to 2005, New England’s record was 25,348 MW, set in 2002.

* Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP), which manages the power grid in all or part of seven southwestern states, has experienced high demand this summer as well. Non-coincidental peak for July 22 was 38,852 MW, surpassing the previous day’s peak of 38,612 MW. With the unusually high demand levels in the northeast, SPP has actually seen transmission patterns moving south to north, which is atypical for the summer months.

One megawatt is enough electricity to power about 800 homes, according to national averages.

All told, NYISO, SPP, ISO-NE, PJM and the Midwest ISO supply wholesale power to approximately 142 million people, roughly 48% of the U.S. population.