Webex Stakeholder Meetings Extended; Remaining Operator Seminar Dates Canceled

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Update #4: April 6, 2020, 3:40 p.m.

In a notice to members sent April 3, PJM President and CEO Manu Asthana provided an update on the latest precautions PJM has put in place to maintain the safety and security of employees, stakeholders and the grid.

Based on the latest guidance from public health experts and federal and state government, PJM has decided to cancel the remaining dates of the System Operator Seminar, the notice said. Member companies with system operators who have concerns related to their training and certification requirements should contact TrainingSupport@pjm.com.

PJM will continue to hold Webex-based stakeholder meetings until at least May 6. PJM employees will also continue telecommuting until at least May 4, with the exception of system operators and other essential personnel.

PJM also held its weekly coronavirus update call for members, and reported that PJM is:

  • Equipping its campuses for sequestration, if needed. PJM has the necessary logistics ready for extended stay.
  • Prepping its control room simulator as a third control room, and determining what would be the best use of that facility.
  • Regularly adding updates to its Best Practices for Control Centers to Limit the Spread of Coronavirus from members and PJM staff.
  • Providing weekly updates for members on PJM approach to business rule waivers.
  • Continuing to coordinate with both generation owners and transmission owners about scheduled maintenance outages.
    • While COVID-19 restrictions have not yet had a major impact on generator maintenance, some generators are reporting contractor crew shortage to due travel restrictions and parts shortages due to COVID-related supply chain issues.
    • Many generators are deferring or reducing the scope of longer planned outages and/or shifting work to shorter periods during off-peak hours.
    • Transmission owners have not reported significant impact to maintenance schedules from coronavirus restrictions. However, PJM has an ongoing open request for Transmission Owners to inform PJM as soon as possible if COVID-19 related delays, such as personnel or supply chain issues, are expected to aid in the advanced rescheduling of the affected outages.
  • Providing weekly data on load impacts.
    • Previous analysis has shown load coming in about 5-7 percent lower than historical trends. PJM expects that to increase and continues to analyze numbers to isolate weather impact vs. COVID-19 impact on load.
    • Data posted this week and last compares actual load versus what one computer model predicts with actual temperatures added in after the fact, giving a result that accounts for weather. PJM is sharing this data with members and others but the analysis is not complete.
    • PJM will report additional information at the April 14 Planning Committee and the April 16 Operating Committee.

PJM’s Info-Connection page provides ongoing information and updates about its precautions to maintain the safety and security of its employees, stakeholders and the grid as it monitors the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). For posted materials and meeting information on PJM’s coronavirus-related efforts, visit PJM’s Pandemic Coordination page.

Update #3: March 24, 2020, 5:20 p.m.

On March 23 and 24, PJM provided the following updates on additional precautions PJM is taking in connection with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

Weekly Stakeholder Briefings

  • PJM will hold weekly stakeholder briefings on PJM’s pandemic response.
  • The next briefing is scheduled for March 27 at 11 a.m. Please register to join the call.

Stakeholder Meetings

  • PJM has decided that it would not be prudent to hold the Annual Meeting in person this year, which was scheduled for May 4–5 in Chicago. PJM will hold the Members Committee meeting via Webex on May 4, 2020.  PJM is discussing plans for other sessions on the agenda, and will communicate the outcome of those discussions with the relevant stakeholders.
  • PJM is extending the format of holding Webex-based stakeholder meetings until at least April 10. 

PJM Campus and Operations

  • Operations planning has reported a “noticeable but not severe” decrease in load thus far due to coronavirus restrictions across the states. The drop has been around 5 percent and the load curve resembles a snow day. More details in a recent Inside Lines story.
  • PJM employees will continue its work-from-home policy until at least April 10, with the exception of system operators and other essential personnel.
  • PJM operators have been isolated from all support staff.
  • PJM’s control rooms continue to be disinfected daily.
  • As of March 21, Dispatch has moved to longer shifts to help minimize contact.
  • PJM has a dedicated liaison to the Emergency Operations Center for Montgomery County, PA.
  • PJM will continue reassess the situation on a weekly basis looking two weeks ahead.

System Coordination

  • Operations is working with transmission owners and generation owners on any need to reschedule maintenance due to social distancing requirements.
  • Transmission owners will continue to evaluate and prioritize their own work. PJM will not request that transmission outages be canceled because of impacts from the virus but will work with TOs to reschedule them if staffing is not available.

PJM’s Info-Connection page provides ongoing information and updates about its precautions to maintain the safety and security of its employees, stakeholders and the grid as it monitors the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Update #2: March 18, 2020, 11 a.m.

PJM President and CEO Manu Asthana provided the following update to members on March 17 around the precautions PJM has put in place to maintain the safety and security of employees, stakeholders and the grid:

Dear Members,

As you know, PJM continues to monitor the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and evaluate the precautions we have put in place to maintain the safety and security of our employees, stakeholders and the grid. The safe, reliable operation of the grid remains our number one priority.

Based on guidance from public health experts, we have decided to postpone the next series of the PJM System Operator Seminar that was scheduled in Columbus, Ohio from March 31–April 24. We will continue to update you on the remainder of the training.  

While we have suspended our traditional on-campus stakeholder meetings, we are continuing to conduct meetings through Webex, which will include the March 26 MRC/MC meeting. In addition to conducting meetings remotely, PJM has implemented a work-from-home policy through March 27 for our employees with the exception of system operators and other shift personnel. PJM successfully tested our work-from-home capabilities on Friday, March 13. We are confident that PJM markets, planning, stakeholder meetings and Member Relations can all be operated remotely.

As we indicated in our last communication, we are evaluating the Annual Meeting in May and will communicate a decision on that as soon as possible. 

We continue to coordinate on an ongoing basis with other RTOs and ISOs and agencies of the federal government and state governments to maximize communication and coordination.

Lastly, we are planning to have weekly calls with the generation, transmission and resource operators to provide an opportunity to share best practice preparations and gather issues to work on as we collectively manage through this difficult time.

Should you have any concerns, please contact Dave Anders at david.anders@pjm.com. PJM will continue to closely monitor the situation and will reevaluate these decisions on an ongoing basis.  

Sincerely,
Manu Asthana

PJM’s Info-Connection page provides ongoing information and updates about its precautions to maintain the safety and security of its employees, stakeholders and the grid as it monitors the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Update #1: March 12, 2020, 3:45 p.m.

PJM’s Info-Connection page will provide information and updates about its precautions to maintain the safety and security of its employees, stakeholders and the grid as it monitors the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The safe, reliable operation of the grid remains PJM’s top priority. In a message to members on March 11, PJM provided several updates to actions outlined for members in previous communications, including:

  • All stakeholder meetings will continue to be conducted via WebEx only through Friday, March 27. PJM will continue to re-evaluate this weekly.
  • Stakeholders have inquired about the impact of the coronavirus on market operations. PJM is prepared and able to run and support all market applications from its campus or remotely, as needed.   
  • PJM is continuing to discuss the status of the PJM Annual Meeting, which currently is scheduled for May 4–5 in Chicago, IL. PJM will make a conclusive decision on the meeting, and report it to members by Friday, April 3.
  • PJM continues to take additional operational measures to ensure grid reliability. 

Original Story: March 5, 2020

PJM has made the decision to implement additional precautionary measures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as the company continues to closely monitor the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the U.S. State Department and the local health department in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

In a letter emailed to members today (March 5), PJM noted its commitment to providing all of our staff and stakeholders with a safe and secure environment to work in and visit. PJM has taken a series of steps to date, including a ban on international business travel and international visits to PJM, and other actions that follow PJM’s Communicable Disease and Pandemic Preparedness Plan.

The additional measures are intended to reduce risk to PJM’s operators, who ensure the reliability of the PJM grid, and to assist in keeping employees and stakeholders safe.

Beginning after close of business on March 6:

  • All business travel for PJM staff – both domestic and international – is suspended.
  • All stakeholder meetings and trainings will be held via WebEx for at least the upcoming two weeks from that date and will be reevaluated on a weekly basis.
  • PJM is also suspending all visits to its Valley Forge campus with the exception of essential vendors or business personnel who need to deliver critical items or services.
  • PJM is canceling the first three weeks of the PJM Operator Seminar, scheduled to begin in Baltimore on Tuesday, March 10 and will reevaluate the remainder of the class as soon as possible. 

Some Precautions Already in Place

The latest measures are in addition to ongoing precautions, such as:

  • Employees are asked to report all personal international travel for themselves or any members of their household, and to coordinate through Human Resources for guidance or requirements to return to work.
  • PJM has continued an enhanced cleaning process, including the use of a hospital-grade disinfectant.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are kept well-stocked throughout the PJM campus.
  • PJM personnel are equipped to work remotely, if necessary, to maintain business continuity.

PJM assured stakeholders that it is working to strike a balance between the impacts of these decisions and our number one priority to protect the reliability of the system.