PJM and Members Ready to Meet Winter Electricity Needs

New video explains dispatchers’ critical role in keeping power flowing to 13 states and D.C.


PJM Interconnection and its members are prepared to meet the forecasted winter electricity demand across 13 states and the District of Columbia.

“We’re confident that PJM will be able to serve customer demand reliably this winter,” said Michael E. Bryson, senior vice-president – Operations. “Our diverse resource portfolio, healthy reserves and strong-and-improving generator performance are assets in operating an efficient system, and we collaborate with our generation and transmission owners to prepare for the most extreme cold weather scenarios.”

PJM forecasts peak demand at around 134,000 megawatts this winter, and has more than 187,000 MW of resources that includes natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar and other resources. PJM’s all-time winter peak is 143,434* MW, set on Feb. 20, 2015.

PJM analyzes the expected demand for electricity, weather predictions and other factors to develop its forecast for winter operations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a warmer-than-average winter for much of the region PJM serves.

PJM also works with members to prepare for cold weather by testing resources, conducting drills and surveying generators for fuel inventory. PJM’s preparation checklist includes everything from increasing staffing for weather emergencies to maintenance activities to ensure equipment is ready for winter conditions.

As part of its regular winter operations, PJM closely coordinates with natural gas supply and transportation across the region.  In addition, PJM also studies unforeseen impacts of pipeline service disruptions and the effect on generators, and has found that there are no associated reliability concerns for the coming winter.

The People Who Make It Work

Keeping the lights on during extreme weather can come down to the decisions made by PJM’s dispatchers, who direct the generation of power and the transmission of electricity to the regional utilities 24 hours a day. PJM’s new video, “A Day in the Life of Dispatch,” explains how the supply and demand of electricity is balanced across the PJM grid for 65 million people.

The video details how dispatchers use the latest tools and technology to coordinate the flow of power throughout the region PJM serves, and highlights how they plan for and react to the behaviors of consumers. It illustrates the critical, high-stakes nature of these positions and how dispatchers are almost constantly training to sharpen their skills.

2018–2019 Winter Performance

Last winter, PJM reliably served a peak of nearly 139,000 MW on Jan. 31. Overall reliability was boosted by better generator performance, as outage rates plunged significantly from the 2013–2014 polar vortex. Find out more about how PJM prepares to meet electricity needs for each season on the PJM Learning Center.

*Note, this number was amended to reflect the integration of an additional transmission zone that occurred December 2018.