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Heat wave forced PJM to shed load in four states


From the September 13, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published September 13, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
Citing unseasonably hot weather combined with local equipment problems, PJM Interconnection said it was forced to shed load in parts of four states on Sept. 10. PJM said it was forced to direct local utilities in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania to immediately and temporarily cut electricity to some customers to avoid the possibility of an uncontrolled blackout over a larger area that would have affected many more people. Real-time prices in parts of Ohio reached $1,800/MWh, SNL reported. Peak demand on Sept. 10 hit 144,370 megawatts, which PJM said was a new record for September, though well below the peak for the year of 157,509 MW recorded in July. 

"Extreme heat in the western region of PJM resulted in record demand for September at a time when many power plants and some transmission lines were off for seasonal maintenance," said PJM CEO Terry Boston. "Our only option to prevent a potential equipment overload and failures that would cause a much bigger interruption was to call for emergency relief in the form of controlled outages." 

Some customers lost power for about 90 minutes while others were out for as much as 8 hours, Reuters reported. The news service said PJM curtailed 154 MW. A spokesman for First Energy told the Akron Beacon Journal that PJM ordered the utility to take about 100 MW off-line about 5:30 p.m. in the Erie, Pa., area. That led to about 35,000 customers of FirstEnergy subsidiary Penelec going without electricity until about midnight, the spokesman said.
 

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Jeanne Wickline LaBella
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