PJM Interconnection, the regional electricity grid operator for Pennsylvania and all or areas of 12 other states, reported a new wintertime record for energy demand.
At 8 a.m. on Friday, PJM recorded a wintertime peak demand of an estimated 143,800 megawatts. The previous record was set on January 7th, 2014 at 142,573 megawatts. Officials of PJM said they had been expecting the increase in energy demand due to the weather forecasts anticipating subzero temperatures. Surprisingly, during the energy demand spike there were no service issues reported, stated PJM spokesperson Paula DuPoint-Kidd. This is the complete opposite of what happened during the polar vortex that hit during January 2014.
In 2014, there was an unusual number of plant outages reported, which put an overwhelming amount of stress on the grid. DuPoint-Kidd explained how the outages were caused by not enough coal or gas supplies available to run the plants. The outages were also caused by peaking plants, which are plants that only function when there is a high demand for energy. According to DuPoint-Kidd, it was so cold at the time that some plants wouldn’t fire up.
DuPoint-Kidd explained that because of last year’s problems during the polar vortex, PJM has new procedures regarding fuel supplies and equipment maintenance and testing.
The National Weather Service also recorded a new record on Friday. Data concluded that a record low of minus ten degrees was reached in Pittsburgh. The previous record was set in 1968 with a set low of minus 2.