Utilities, Generators, Demand Response Keep Grid Reliable on Challenging Day

Preliminary load estimate would be second-highest on record for October

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PJM members in generation, transmission and load management worked together successfully on Wednesday, Oct. 2, to keep the power flowing during one of 2019’s most challenging days.

On a day that produced 90-degree temperatures across much of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and the South, member companies and their customers with interruptible service answered PJM’s call to reduce load on Wednesday. Their actions helped manage the afternoon load resulting from unseasonable customer demand.

The preliminary peak load of more than 126,000 MW would be the second-highest October demand total for the PJM footprint on record; second to the 134,000 MW mark set in October 2007, and just over the approximately 125,000 MW demand registered on Tuesday, Oct. 1. PJM electricity demand can be followed in real time on the PJM Now app.

“We count on our utility partners, generation resources and load management to perform during these tough days, and they did just that,” said Rebecca Carroll, director – Dispatch.

PJM declared a Pre-Emergency Load Management Reduction Action just before noon EST in the AEP, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Dominion and Pepco zones. The purpose of a Pre-Emergency Load Management Reduction Action is to provide additional load relief by using PJM-controllable load management programs, such as voluntary commercial, industrial and residential programs, in which customers receive compensation for agreeing to reduce their consumption during times of stress to the grid.

The Pre-Emergency Load Management Reduction Action also triggers a Performance Assessment Interval, which measures the production of all resources that were committed to perform under PJM’s Capacity Performance rules. The interval lasted from 2 p.m. until 3:45 p.m. for BGE, PEP, and DOM and at 4 p.m. for AEP, which also signaled the end of the Pre-Emergency Load Management Reduction Action.

PJM implemented Capacity Performance to ensure that energy is available when it is needed most, such as during severe hot and cold weather.

Under Capacity Performance, resources that fail to meet their commitment during emergencies are assessed a penalty. Resources that exceed their obligation, and those that perform during an emergency despite having no capacity obligation, are entitled to receive some of the funds collected from underperforming units.

October falls within the industry’s “shoulder season,” between the highest-demand seasons of summer and winter, and is traditionally one of the prime months for scheduled maintenance for PJM’s transmission and generation owners. Because a variety of generators typically are out of service for maintenance during this time, PJM issued an alert Tuesday afternoon – called a Maximum Generation Emergency/Load Management Alert – to check on the availability of those generators in case they are needed.

Thursday is expected to be considerably cooler, and electric usage is expected to be much lower, as the region returns to more fall-like weather.