May 22 (Reuters) - New York has enough electricity to meet the peak summer air conditioning demand in spite of the retirement of several older generating plants over the past year or so, the state's power grid operator said on Wednesday.
The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) forecast peak summer demand will reach 33,279 megawatts (MW), which is a little higher than the 2012 summer peak of 32,439 MM but still below the record system peak of 33,939 MW from August 2006.
One megawatt can power up to 1,000 New York homes.
"While the retirement of several power plants has decreased the total supply, we have sufficient statewide generating capacity and other resources to address expected peak usage," NYISO CEO Stephen Whitley said in a release.
The grid operator said the peak forecast is based on normal summer weather conditions, with temperatures in New York City about 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). If extreme summer weather produces heat waves of 100 F in New York City and elsewhere, the NYISO said peak demand across the state could increase to about 35,770 MW, eclipsing the previous record.
New York's reliability rules require that 38,936 MW be available to serve New York in 2013, which is a reserve margin of 17 percent above the summer peak demand forecast.
The NYISO said the total capacity available this summer is 41,452 MW, which includes 37,925 MW of existing in-state generation, 1,558 MW of demand response resources (programs under which consumers reduce usage) and 1,969 MW of import capability that could be used to supply energy from neighboring regions.
The NYISO said the resources available in 2013 are about 2,220 MW below last year's total primarily due to the plant retirements.
The biggest power companies operating in New York include units of Consolidated Edison Inc, National Grid Plc , Iberdrola SA, Entergy Corp, TransCanada Inc and NRG Energy Inc.