PJM Reaffirms Winter Readiness; Cold Snap Drives Record Energy Exports

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PJM Interconnection and its member companies are prepared for the severe weather that continues to impact the majority of the country this week. PJM and its members have maintained reliable operation of the bulk power system during the recent extreme storms while exporting record amounts of electricity to neighboring systems.

PJM’s primary focus is the operation of the nation’s largest electric grid for 65 million people in 13 states and Washington, D.C. It involves 24/7 system monitoring and dispatch by trained operators, coordination with other operating entities and industry sectors in real time, markets that support reliability and resource adequacy over the long term, and extensive regional transmission planning to ensure the grid is equipped to serve future needs.

“Reliability will always be our most important responsibility,” said Manu Asthana, President and CEO. “It takes the joint efforts of our employees and our member companies to deliver on that responsibility, and we are grateful for their dedication and coordination in keeping the power flowing. We especially want to acknowledge the hard work of front line workers including the operators at the plants, the linemen, and the control room operators and others whose jobs are further complicated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

PJM has a large, multi-state geographic footprint, a diverse fuel mix and a robust reserve margin, and engages in regional transmission planning and winter preparation, all of which support grid reliability. PJM and its member companies plan throughout the year for winter conditions, and fortunately, because of the normal weather patterns in our region, most plants are constructed in anticipation of freezing temperatures. In addition, PJM analyzes the expected demand for electricity, weather predictions and other factors to develop its forecast for winter operations and to procure the necessary resources using its competitive markets. PJM also works with members to prepare for cold weather by testing resources, conducting drills and surveying generators for fuel inventory.

The peak load reached this week was approximately 117,000 MW, according to preliminary estimates. PJM’s all-time winter peak is 143,295 MW, set on Feb. 20, 2015. While maintaining reliability for its system, PJM was also able to provide electricity to neighboring regions. PJM electricity exports set records on Monday and Tuesday, with at least 10 hours of more than 13,000 MW exported and exceeding 15,700 MW at one point on Monday. This is more than double what PJM would export during a typical day.

PJM’s preparation includes everything from increasing staffing for weather emergencies to coordinating maintenance activities that ensure equipment is ready for winter conditions. Before the winter hits, the generators complete a winter checklist and provide PJM confirmation of completion. The extensive preparations of our members, and the close coordination with those members and other stakeholders, allows PJM to prepare for unforeseen outages or other system disruptions.