Jan. 11 Update: Cold Weather Alert Issued for PJM’s Western Region

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PJM has issued a Cold Weather Alert for its Western Region for Jan. 14–17 in advance of expected single-digit temperatures in that region.

PJM previously issued a Cold Weather Advisory for the same region and period of time on Jan. 9. A Cold Weather Alert will typically follow the Cold Weather Advisory if the forecast conditions continue to hold.

PJM normally issues this alert when actual temperatures are projected to fall near or below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, PJM can also issue this alert if high winds are forecast or if a portion of gas-fired units may be unavailable due to potential gas procurement issues.

When this alert is issued, PJM communicates with generator owners to tell them to be prepared to call in additional staff to get all generating units running for when electricity use begins to increase in the morning. Generator owners must take extra care to maintain equipment so that it doesn’t freeze in the cold and are reminded to provide updated information to PJM on limitations to their units, including time required to start and the maximum and minimum times that their units can run once started.

Keeping PJM informed of changing generator conditions, particularly as natural gas pipelines may become constrained as the cold spell progresses, is particularly important over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend. To assist in this effort, PJM and the Independent Market Monitor developed and published guidance for generators (PDF) on how best to provide timely and accurate information about their operating parameters and availability during periods of natural gas pipeline operating restrictions.

A Cold Weather Alert can be used to defer or reschedule planned generation maintenance outages and/or transmission outages and/or recall transmission/generator outages, if necessary.

The Western Region in PJM is made up of the following transmission zones and control areas:

  • AES Ohio (formerly Dayton Power & Light)
  • American Electric Power (AEP Ohio, Appalachian Power, Indiana Michigan Power and Kentucky Power)
  • American Municipal Power Transmission
  • ComEd
  • Cleveland Public Power
  • Dayton Power & Light
  • Duke Energy Ohio and Duke Energy Kentucky
  • Duquesne Light Company
  • East Kentucky Power Cooperative
  • FirstEnergy South – former Allegheny Power Systems (West Penn Power, Mon Power, Potomac Edison)
  • FirstEnergy West – former American Transmission Systems, Inc. (Penn Power, Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison)
  • ITC Interconnection, LLC
  • Ohio Valley Electric Corporation

Original Story (Jan. 9): PJM Issues Cold Weather Advisory for Western Region for Jan. 14–17

PJM has issued a Cold Weather Advisory for its Western Region for Jan. 14–17 ahead of forecast frigid temperatures in that region.

When PJM expects significantly cold weather to impact all or parts of the PJM footprint, it issues a Cold Weather Advisory to provide a two-to-five-day notice that forecast temperatures may call for a Cold Weather Alert. This is meant to give generation owners ample time to proactively prepare their units to operate during pending cold weather and to provide information to PJM about their operating availability, capabilities and limitations to help PJM operators plan for the extreme weather.

Temperatures are expected to reach the single digits in PJM’s Western Region, which will drive up the demand for electricity in that area.

The Western Region in PJM is made up of the following transmission zones and control areas:

  • AES Ohio (formerly Dayton Power & Light)
  • American Electric Power (AEP Ohio, Appalachian Power, Indiana Michigan Power and Kentucky Power)
  • American Municipal Power Transmission
  • ComEd
  • Cleveland Public Power
  • Dayton Power & Light
  • Duke Energy Ohio and Duke Energy Kentucky
  • Duquesne Light Company
  • East Kentucky Power Cooperative
  • FirstEnergy South – former Allegheny Power Systems (West Penn Power, Mon Power, Potomac Edison)
  • FirstEnergy West – former American Transmission Systems, Inc. (Penn Power, Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison)
  • Ohio Valley Electric Corporation

PJM’s Winter Weather Preparations for 2023–2024

PJM, expects to have more than 181,000 MW of resources to meet the forecasted winter peak demand of approximately 137,000 MW plus an average forecast of just under 4,000 MW of electricity exports to neighboring systems.

In 2023, PJM implemented winter readiness measures beyond its annual Cold Weather Preparation Guideline and Checklist, seasonal fuel and emissions surveys, and other operations and planning steps. These measures were implemented as a result of lessons learned from recent extreme weather events, including Winter Storm Elliott in December 2022, when the grid was stressed, but PJM was able to maintain reliable electric service.

PJM and its stakeholders have made a number of improvements to rules and processes regarding generator performance and overall cold weather reliability, in the short term and long term. For this winter, PJM has:

  • Improved generator operational and seasonal reporting requirements
  • Adjusted short-term forecasting to better capture long-term extreme weather trends
  • Enhanced communication protocols with generation owners before and during cold weather events to ensure that required preparations and actions are received, understood and acknowledged
  • Received FERC approval to allow generators to update their Day-Ahead Market operating parameters in real time, providing PJM operators with greater situational awareness of generators’ capabilities

Generators are also reporting specifics of cold weather preparedness and operations to PJM as a result of new requirements this season introduced by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), including identifying and taking corrective actions for equipment that failed during Winter Storm Elliott or may be at risk of failing under similar conditions.

PJM analyzes the expected demand for electricity, weather predictions and other factors to develop its forecast for winter operations. PJM’s ongoing Cold Weather Preparation Guideline and Checklist for generation owners includes everything from increasing staffing for weather emergencies to performing required maintenance activities to prepare equipment for winter conditions. The checklist is now mandatory.

Each year, PJM performs winter readiness assessments in advance of the cold weather months, collecting data on fuel inventory, supply and delivery characteristics, emissions limitations, and minimum operating temperatures. PJM meets with federal and state regulators and neighboring systems to review winter preparations. PJM also conducts weekly operational review meetings with major natural gas pipeline operators serving generators in the PJM footprint to coordinate operations with the pipelines that supply a large portion of the gas generation fleet.

In 2023, PJM and the Independent Market Monitor developed and published guidance for generators (PDF) on how best to provide timely and accurate information about their operating parameters and availability during periods of natural gas pipeline operating restrictions.