ISO New England (ISO-NE) started taking emergency actions Friday under its Operating Procedure No 4 — titled “Action during a capacity deficiency” — as a result of the high power demand triggered by the heat wave late last week. That move and the associated warnings that went out triggered a slew of calls from reporters, the ISO’s press office told us. National news outlets carried the story Friday including at least one interview with an ISO press officer on a nationally syndicated radio show.
The first level of emergency response in the ISO’s rules is mostly notification requirements that offer no extra power or demand relief — except the step to “begin to allow the depletion of 30-minute reserve.” That one can deliver about 600 MW, said an appendix to OP4.
The next level can deliver about 550 MW, said the appendix, by dispatching “real-time demand resources in the amount and location required.” At 1:30 PM, the ISO implemented Action Three under OP4, requesting voluntary load curtailment of market participant facilities and office complexes.
PJM breaks record
PJM Thursday broke its August 2006 peak record by delivering 158,450 MW and started releasing alerts for Friday at 7:13 AM that day with a heavy load voltage schedule warning. That was followed by 54 entries on
PJM’s emergency message webpage ending at 10:55 PM Friday, mostly “post contingency local load relief” warnings. The purpose of those is to give advanced notice to a transmission owner of the potential for manual load dump
in their area only, explained the PJM website.
Other messages included “non-market post contingency local load relief” warnings, the same message but for non-market facilities.
PJM issued at 11:00 AM an emergency mandatory load management with short lead time for Baltimore Gas & Electric. “Load reduction is expected to be fully implemented within one hour,” of the alert time, said the PJM website, “and should remain off for six hours unless released earlier by PJM.
Others of the 54 entries included NERC-mandated alerts and letting generation owners boost generation above the normal economic limit — for BG&E, Duquesne Light and Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G).
Alerts started back up just after midnight on Saturday with a hot weather alert for the entire RTO, warning the temperature was expected to hit 103°F later that day. A “heavy load voltage schedule warning was issued
at 7:30 AM and by noon a 60 MW load relief warning was posted for an area of AEP.
The Maryland PSC reminded customers that utilities in the state are not allowed to disconnect service for non-payment during a heat wave.
BG&E, PPL respond
Customers of BG&E were told Friday that members of the firm’s PeakRewards emergency load management program that they were being phased down to the level they had agreed to — 50%, 75% or 100% demand reduction — although they all were cycled to 50% during a transition period, said the firm.
What did they get for that? Participating customers receive bill credits of up to $200 in the first year of participation and up to $100 for each subsequent year, regardless of whether the program is activated.
The program cut peak demand by about 500 MW, said BG&E.
Early figures showed the demand at PPL Electric Utilities (PPL) at 2 PM Friday reached 7,622 MW — breaking the firm’s all-time summer peak of 7,554 MW set Aug 1, 2006 and the all-time winter peak of 7,577 MW set on Feb 5, 2007. The
firm kept the power on and cited attention to maintenance and inspection, the increasing investments in the grid plus system planning for that. It plans to spend over $450 million in capital investments this year, mainly to upgrade and expand the grid and address aging infrastructure, the IOU said.
“Investing in reliability means we’re prepared for the hottest days of summer and the frigid cold of winter,” said Gregory Dudkin, senior VP of operations.
The mark set Friday was the sixth day this year peak demand topped 7,000 MW and four of those six days occurred last week. The others two were June 6 (7,049 MW) and Jan 24 (7,365 MW).
Over the past 10 years, PPL’s average summer peak was 6,949 MW, so Friday’s peak was about 10% higher than the firm’s summer average.
PSE&G has outages
About 6,600 PSE&G customers were without power due to the weather, the New Jersey IOU reported late Saturday morning. The unofficial peak during this heat wave for the firm was 10,883 MW, set Friday at
about 3:00 PM — shy of the all-time peak of 11,108 MW set in August 2006, said PSE&G. The utility has additional crews on hand to respond to service interruptions as they occur. PJM, the regional grid operator, has had adequate power supplies to meet the increased demand.
The utility asked customers to use power wisely and conserve when possible to help the environment and save money. “Turn off everything you’re not using, including TVs and computers,” said the firm. The message listed many other actions customers could take including turning air conditioners warmer, using ceiling fans among lots of others.
New York calls DR
Con Edison (ConEd) said Friday it broke its all-time record, reaching 13,189 MW at 4 PM that day, “eclipsing” the all-time record of 13,141 MW set Aug 2, 2006.
DR programs were credited with cutting peak demand by about 500 MW when 3.2 million customers “heeded calls to conserve power.” The utility “saluted” them “and credited them with a key assist in keeping the power flowing reliably.”
The IOU did experience scattered power outages and as of 7 PM Friday the firm had restored power to over 16,500 of the 24,000 customers affected since Thursday.
New York ISO (NYISO) reported Thursday’s peak at 33,454 MW between 4-5 PM, 485 MW below the all-time peak of 33,939 MW set in August 2006. The peak Thursday was 2 MW above the 2010 peak of 33,452 MW set July 6.
NYISO activated DR programs in the “downstate” region to help manage load between 1-6 PM where over 800 MW of DR is enrolled in the Lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.
DR was called statewide Friday where over 2,000 MW is available, said the ISO.
“While New York’s power system performed well and sufficient resources were available to meet the higher demand, it’s important for all electricity consumers to heed the conservation advice of their local utility,” NYISO CEO Stephen Whitley said.
Meanwhile, New York PSC Chairman Garry Brown Friday asked New Yorkers to conserve energy to help take stress off the power. “It is critically important for consumers to reduce their energy use at this time. Equally important is for our state’s residents to stay cool and stay hydrated as hot and humid weather continues to stay with us. We must all work together to reduce unnecessary electricity usage during this heat wave.”
Wind keeps blowing
Cape Wind took the constrained power situation as an opportunity to point out its offshore wind power project could help supply clean power in such an event. The wind farm “planned for Nantucket Sound would have been
running at its full capacity of 420 MW yesterday and today Cape Wind would be running above average in power production,” said the firm Friday, citing wind data gathered both days.
“People sometimes think about the ‘dog days’ of summer and wonder if wind turbines will help,” Communications Director Mark Rodgers said in a prepared statement. The “data shows us that offshore in Nantucket Sound, those
hot summer afternoons tend to be quite windy.”
In average conditions, Cape Wind will meet about 75% of the electricity demand of Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, it added.