US East has power to meet soaring heat wave demand

Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:47pm EDT

  * Temperatures to top 90 F (32 C) along East Coast
  * PJM will likely set a June record
  * NYC and Pennsylvania urge power conservation
  NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) - Grid operators across the
eastern half of the United States expect to have more than
enough electricity to meet soaring power demand this week as
consumers crank up their air conditioners to escape the
summer's first heat wave.
 "We expect to have enough power to meet the peak demand
this week," said Ray Dotter at PJM, the nation's biggest grid
operator overseeing parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic
 To help ensure continued reliability, PJM however did ask
its members to avoid conducting unnecessary maintenance on
their generation and transmission facilities during the hot
weather but did not take any steps that customers would notice,
Dotter said.
 Temperatures this week in major metropolitan cities along
the East Coast from Florida to New York stretching as far west
as Chicago will top 90 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), according to
weather forecasts.
 PJM forecast demand would reach 124,000 megawatts on
Tuesday, 132,000 MW on Wednesday and 129,000 MW on Thursday
before dropping to 119,000 MW on Friday when high temperatures
return to more normal levels in the 80s F for the weekend.
 If demand tops 132,000 MW on Wednesday as forecast, it
would break the June demand record and easily beat last
summer's peak of 126,805 MW when temperatures in PJM were
relatively mild.
 In May, PJM forecast the grid would have 162,000 MW of
generation available this summer to meet a forecast peak of
135,750 MW, which is still well below the grid's all-time
record of 144,644 MW set in 2006 during a brutal heat wave.
 Several power companies and state agencies, including New
York City's electric company Consolidated Edison Inc (ED.N) and
the Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission, have already
urged consumers to cut back on power consumption to avoid
potential power shortages.
 And the hot weather is not limited to the East Coast.
 ERCOT in Texas forecast power demand would near 60,000 MW
on Tuesday with mercury in several Lone Star cities topping 100
F (38 C).
 In May, the Texas grid operator forecast it would have more
than 66,000 MW of generation available this summer to meet a
forecast peak of over 64,000 MW. The all-time peak demand in
ERCOT was 62,397 MW set in July 2009.
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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