Powering Strong Communities

Grid Operators Respond To High Temperatures, Soaring Power Demand

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the PJM Interconnection took steps to respond to hot weather this week and the expected increases in power demand.

ERCOT on July 10 asked Texas residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve electricity, Monday, July 11 between 2-8 p.m. as extreme hot weather created record power demand across Texas.

Along with the conservation appeal, ERCOT also issued a watch for a projected reserve capacity shortage from 2-8 p.m. on July 11. As of July 10, no system-wide outages were expected.

The grid operator noted that conservation is a reliability tool ERCOT has deployed more than four dozen times since 2008 to successfully manage grid operations.

The notification is issued when projected reserves may fall below 2,300 megawatts (MW) for 30 minutes or more.

In a recent episode of the American Public Power Association’s Public Power Now podcast, Woody Rickerson, Vice President of System Planning and Weatherization at ERCOT, detailed ongoing efforts by the grid operator to bolster reliability in the state.

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) reported that it set a peak load record on July 11 as region-wide electricity use reached 51,377 MW. This surpassed SPP’s previous record of 51,090 MW set July 5, 2022.

Meanwhile, PJM on July 11 said it issued a Hot Weather Alert for its Mid-Atlantic region for July 12 in anticipation of 90-degree temperatures.

A Hot Weather Alert helps to prepare transmission and generation personnel and facilities for extreme heat and/or humidity that may cause capacity problems on the grid. Temperatures were expected to go above 90 degrees.

The Mid-Atlantic region is made up of the Atlantic City Electric, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Delmarva Power & Light, Jersey Central Power & Light, Met-Ed, Penelec, PECO Energy, Pepco, PPL Electric Utilities, PSE&G, and Orange & Rockland (Rockland Electric Company) transmission zones.

PJM said it was prepared to serve a forecasted summer peak demand for electricity of approximately 149,000 MW but has performed reliability studies at even higher loads -- in excess of 157,000 MW.

PJM has approximately 185,000 MW of installed generating capacity available to meet customer needs, with sufficient resources available in reserve to cover generation that is unexpectedly unavailable or for other unanticipated changes in demand, it said.

Last year’s peak demand was approximately 149,000 MW.