PJM Issues RTO-Wide Cold Weather Alert for Jan. 21


PJM has issued a Cold Weather Alert for Jan. 21 for the entire region it serves in advance of expected cold weather.

A Cold Weather Alert prepares personnel and facilities for expected extreme cold weather conditions when actual temperatures fall near or below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. PJM can also initiate a Cold Weather Alert at higher temperatures if PJM anticipates increased winds or potential natural gas pipeline constraints.

Transmission and generation owners must take extra care to maintain equipment, so that it does not freeze. During a Cold Weather Alert, PJM may also cancel or postpone planned maintenance outages in order to ensure availability of sufficient resources.

PJM expects to have over 185,000[1] MW of resources to meet a forecast winter peak demand of approximately 133,000 MW. PJM’s all-time winter peak is 143,295 MW, set on Feb. 20, 2015.

How PJM Prepares for Winter Weather

PJM and its members have prepared to meet the forecast demand for electricity this winter, employing lessons learned from recent extreme weather events while also accounting for recent fuel supply concerns.

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

This winter, in light of the severe cold weather issues experienced in Texas during February 2021, PJM initiated an analysis that resulted in numerous additional improvements to its winter preparedness efforts. Those improvements include:

  • Incorporating critical-load business rules and expectations into emergency operations procedures to assist transmission owners in identifying and prioritizing electric service for critical facilities in emergencies
  • Collecting more information from suppliers about any fuel, environmental or weather-related limitations that could impact winter operations, while also including wind and solar generators in these requests
  • Further enhancing information-sharing with the natural gas industry

Given recent reports regarding coal and fuel-oil supply chains, PJM will continue to issue data requests for fuel inventories on a weekly basis to provide a clearer picture of fuel availability this winter. Further, in October, PJM initiated temporary changes to its Emergency Operations rules to give PJM and generators more flexibility in building and maintaining coal and oil supplies given current global shortages in those fuel inventories headed into winter. Learn more about how PJM prepares for winter conditions on the PJM Learning Center. Track grid conditions in real time with the PJM Now app on iOS and Android.

[1] 169,682 MW of these generation resources are committed capacity resources.