PJM says transmission upgrades will ensure power throughout summer

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PJM Interconnection, operator of the nation's largest power grid, is ready with power supplies to meet 61 million consumers' expected power demand this summer. Electricity demand is forecasted to reach about 155,279 MW at its peak this summer. One MW of electricity is enough to power 800 to 1,000 homes.

The highest peak use of power in PJM was 165,492 MW in July 2011.

"We expect to have sufficient power to keep air conditioners and all electrical devices running this summer," said Michael J. Kormos, executive vice president – Operations. "Summer can be the real test of our system because of heavy use of air conditioning across the 13-state region. This is why we work year-round to ensure that power resources are in place to meet consumer demand."

PJM has 177,650 MW of installed generating capacity available to use. The amount of installed generation is slightly less than last year because of a number of power plant retirements. However, the reserve margin is nearly 21 percent, which is above the 15.6 percent required margin.

PJM expects to have about 8,500 MW of demand response and energy efficiency available. Demand response is a program of committed customers who are willing to interrupt or reduce their electricity use in the event of a system emergency.

Since the summer of 2014, PJM made various transmission enhancements to the bulk power system, including adding new 230-kilovolt and 138-kV transmission lines, converting an existing transmission line from 138 kV to 230 kV, and upgrading 500/230-kV transformers. In addition, PJM is retrofitting approximately 20 69-kV, 138-kV and 345-kV transmission lines with higher-rated transmission conductors. 

The recent completion of the Susquehanna-Roseland 500-kV transmission line (between Pennsylvania and New Jersey) is also expected to relieve congestion on the system this summer.

PJM Interconnection, founded in 1927, ensures the reliability of the high-voltage electric power system serving 61 million people in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. PJM coordinates and directs the operation of the region's transmission grid, which includes 62,556 miles of transmission lines; administers a competitive wholesale electricity market; and plans regional transmission expansion improvements to maintain grid reliability and relieve congestion.

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