PJM Passes Top Winter Load of 2019 with No Reliability Issues

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Update #2 – Jan. 31, 8:50 a.m.

As of 8:50 a.m. Jan. 31, PJM continues to report no reliability issues.

PJM has already passed its Thursday morning peak electricity usage. The peak forecast was revised to under 140,000 MW. The Thursday evening peak is expected to reach to about 136,000 MW.

Cold weather alerts remain in effect for the PJM footprint through 6 p.m. Friday.

PJM continues to have robust reserves and does not expect to have any capacity issues at this time.

Update #1 – Jan. 30, 3:30 p.m.

As of 3:30 p.m. Jan. 30, PJM reports no reliability issues. Cold weather alerts remain in effect for the Western Region today and will go into effect for the entire PJM footprint Thursday.

PJM’s current preliminary load forecast for Thursday is approximately 143,000 MW, which would approach the all-time confirmed winter peak of 143,338 MW, set on Feb. 20, 2015.

PJM continues to have robust reserves and does not expect to have any capacity issues at this time.

Original Story

PJM Interconnection has issued several cold weather alerts as temperatures across much of its 13-state footprint threatened to dip to their lowest point in decades during much of the work week.

Back-to-back cold fronts will sweep through much of the Midwest, bringing with them some of the coldest air in recent memory. The fronts will then spread east for the second part of the week.

The cold weather alerts are for the ComEd zone (Chicago) for Tuesday, Western Region for Wednesday, and the entire PJM grid for Thursday.

Track grid conditions in real time with the PJM Now app on iOS and Android.

The Western Region includes all or parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The entire PJM service area also includes all of New Jersey, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and part of North Carolina.

The National Weather Service has said that daytime high temperatures will be bitterly cold during the week and forecasted low temperatures could reach records.

Daytime temperatures are expected to be right around zero on Tuesday in Chicago. By Wednesday morning, temperatures across most of the Western Region are expected to be in the single digits and colder. Overnight into Thursday morning temperatures will be below zero in most of the Western Region – reaching as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit in Chicago — and in single digits in the Mid-Atlantic. 

Some sample forecasts: In most of Ohio, extremely cold air temperatures will struggle to make it above zero on Wednesday all day long, with Columbus hitting -2 on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday Southwest Michigan will hit -3, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley will go as low as 3 degrees.

Chicago is forecast to stay at 3 degrees and lower for three days. Pittsburgh will be in singles digits Wednesday and Thursday, while Charleston, West Virginia, hits a high of 16 on Wednesday and 5 degrees on Thursday.

The East Coast temperatures may be a little higher but not by much. Wednesday’s overnight lows in Philadelphia are expected to be around 7 degrees, with Thursday’s daytime high reaching only about 16 degrees.

PJM’s preliminary load forecast for Thursday is approximately 142,000 MW, which would approach the all-time confirmed winter peak of 143,338 MW, set on Feb. 20, 2015.

PJM has robust reserves and does not expect to have any capacity issues at this time.

What Is a Cold Weather Alert?

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 communicates with generator owners and tells them to be prepared to call in additional staff to get all generating units running for the morning load pickup. They must take extra care to maintain the equipment so that it doesn’t freeze in the cold weather. During a cold weather alert, PJM also cancels or postpones planned maintenance outages to ensure the availability of resources. Learn more about how PJM prepares for winter conditions on the PJM Learning Center.

Top 10 Winter Peak Days

Rank

Date

Megawatts

1Feb. 20, 2015143,338
2Jan. 7, 2014142,863
3Jan. 19, 2015140,561
4Jan. 24, 2014137,584
5Jan. 28, 2014137,532
6Jan. 5, 2018137,499
7Feb. 5, 2007136,956
8Jan. 30, 2014136,325
9Jan. 8, 2015136,303
10Jan. 29, 2014136,172