PJM ready to meet expected hot summer demand


With a hotter-than-normal summer forecast, PJM says it has the resources available to meet the electricity demand and keep power flowing to the 65 million people it serves.

PJM planners anticipate electricity use to peak at more than 150,000 megawatts during the summer months, when the National Weather Service is predicting above-average temperatures for almost all of the 13 states and District of Columbia served by PJM and its members.

“PJM continues to ensure that the power supply is secure and reliable while maintaining efficient and transparent markets that save billions of dollars for our customers,” said Andy Ott, president and CEO. “We have planned and prepared for summer operations and we have plenty of reserves to meet the demand.”

The demand last summer peaked at 145,331 MW on July 19. PJM’s all-time highest power use was 165,492 MW in summer 2006.

PJM meets electricity needs by procuring enough resources to satisfy peak demand plus required reserves at the lowest reasonable cost through its competitive markets. PJM works with its members to ensure that power flows where it is needed, now and in the future, and holds resources, such as generating plants, to strict standards to deliver electricity as promised.

PJM also has resources on reserve to cover generation that is unexpectedly unavailable or demand that is higher than forecasted. PJM’s required reserve is 16.1 percent of the forecasted demand level, and this summer PJM’s expected reserve margin is more than 28 percent, or nearly 41,000 MW. PJM has 184,010 MW of installed generating capacity available. One megawatt can power about 800 homes.

At PJM control centers, experts monitor, control and direct the power grid 24/7 with sophisticated technology to balance supply and demand. They adjust the production of generating plants to changes in demand, and make sure that no transmission lines or facilities are overloaded. The system operators also watch for unusual conditions and react to them to protect the electricity supply.

In protecting the reliability of the electric system, PJM experts study thousands of scenarios, assisted by computer simulations to prepare for almost any event. Each variable that conceivably could affect supply and demand for electricity is carefully assessed – from extreme weather, emergency conditions and multiple equipment failures to the more easily anticipated impact of daily, weekly and seasonal cycles in electricity demand.

PJM exercises a broader reliability role than that of a local electric utility. System operators monitor the status of the PJM grid and neighboring systems which gives these experts a big-picture view of regional conditions and situations that could affect reliability.