During an 11-day run when the average RTO-wide temperature was no higher than 20 degrees, PJM and its members worked together to keep the power flowing throughout the bulk power system.
Chris Pilong, director – Dispatch, told stakeholders at the Jan. 9 Operating Committee meeting that cold weather preparation with the members was the key to operations going smoothly from Dec. 27, 2017, to Jan. 7, 2018.
He also provided a summary of the cold weather operations with preliminary information regarding temperatures, load, gas prices and the generation fleet’s performance during the cold weather.
“We had great cooperation from our members,” he said. “The generation owners got information to PJM in a timely manner. We were able to coordinate with them and formulate good plans. When you are looking at two peaks a day – morning and evening – it requires a lot of coordination.”
Pilong also cited the efforts of transmission owners. He said their promptness in reporting equipment issues to PJM was a key, especially as the weather worsened later in the week.
“Our system operators were able to do a great job because of our members,” he said.
PJM recorded its fourth-highest all-time winter peak of 138,465 megawatts at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5. It also had two other top-10 peaks: 136,206 MW the morning of Jan. 5 (eighth) and 136,125 MW on Jan. 3 (10th).
PJM’s preliminary reports showed the recent temperatures as compared to the temperatures experienced in the  polar vortex, the generation dispatched by fuel mix, the generation forced outages by fuel type and the causes of the forced outages of the generation fleet.
As the cold snap continued, the price of gas went up, which caused some of the gas plants to switch to lower-cost oil as a cheaper fuel alternative for those generators.
There was an uptick in unplanned outages toward the end of the 11 days. On Jan. 6, of the 27,160 MW in outages, 22,906 MW came from unplanned outages. Pilong attributed this to the length of the cold weather as more plants ran for longer periods of time.
Pilong emphasized that PJM is still gathering and analyzing information from the cold snap – much of the generation performance data was based on information generators put into eDART. PJM will do more analysis, including breaking down additional categories. PJM will provide a deeper dive into the numbers at the Jan. 25 Markets & Reliability Committee meeting.
Later in the meeting, PJM updated the updated black start request for proposal process, including key steps and recent enhancements. These include revisions to the PJM Tariff, Operating Agreement and Manual 14D: Generator Operational Requirements. There will be a special session of the Operating Committee after the regularly scheduled OC on Feb. 6 to review the RTO-wide proposal process.
The lone first read item covered proposed changes to the Dispatcher Training Subcommittee charter to incorporate human performance as a regular discussion topic. This includes sharing lessons learned, best practices and the analysis of human performance training needs.
Endorsements (all by acclamation)
- Changes to Manual 38: Operations Planning
- Changes to Manual 40: Training and Certification Requirements
- Changes to Manual 14D: Generator Operational Requirements
Subcommittee/Task Force/Informational Updates
- Proposed changes to Attachment F: Dynamic Transfer Process Flow Changes for Manual 12: Balancing Operations
- Cold Weather Testing program
- Review of the OC work plan
- Operating metrics
- System Operations Subcommittee
- System Restoration Coordinators Subcommittee
- Primary Frequency Response Sr. Task Force
- NERC and Regional Coordination Update
- Capacity Performance