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Power companies bulk up for summer load
Question of the Day
As the first day of scorching summer heat set in over Washington, D.C., and the rest of the East Coast Tuesday, the principal power provider in the mid-Atlantic said it has more than enough capacity to handle a hot summer with high demands on air conditioning.
PJM Interconnection, which provides power to homes and businesses on a large stretch of real estate from Kentucky to New Jersey, said it expects energy use to be 1.3 percent higher than during last year’s hot summer, but it has a reserve margin of more than 25 percent to handle the increased demands.
“With a number of transmission enhancements completed since last summer and resources available, we’re confident we’re ready,” said PJM Executive Vice President Michael J. Kormos, predicting another scorching summer is in store.
Temperatures soared well into the 90s on Tuesday afternoon amid suffocating humidity, although cooling rains were expected to quickly follow.
PJM said it has 183,220 megawatts of installed generation capacity, 25.4 percent more than needed to meet expected demand for power this summer. The all-time record for daily power use set in the region was 165,492 MW during a heat wave in July 2011.
“Our experience with extreme seasonal weather and conditions over the past couple of years has helped us to better prepare for hot summers,” said Mr. Kormos.
Typically, far more power is used in the summer than the winter because of near-universal air conditioning in the region. However, the unusually harsh winter this year led to some record-breaking days as people cranked up the power to their heat homes during the cold season, he said.
PJM had eight of its 10 highest winter use days in January, and set a new record for overall winter peak demand at 141,846 MW on January 7.
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