ISO New England may avoid power outages today

Thunderstorms and local power distribution outages interrupting service in Boston may provide enough demand relief for the New England Independent System Operator to get through the day without rolling blackouts. Continued hot and humid weather, more power plant outages, and reduced imports mean another very difficult day for ISO New England.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Aug. 10--Thunderstorms and local power distribution outages interrupting service in Boston may provide enough demand relief for the New England Independent System Operator to get through the day without rolling blackouts.

Continued hot and humid weather, more power plant outages, and reduced imports mean another very difficult day for ISO New England.

At 8 a.m., the ISO already made a public appeal for conservation and hoped to reduce peak demand by 200 Mw that way, said Craig Kazin, spokesman for the ISO. The ISO forecast a peak demand of 25,200 Mw for the afternoon. Available capacity in New England is 24,033 Mw, not including imports.

Even with 2,059 Mw of imports from Canada, the ISO could not meet the required operating reserve requirement of 2,080 Mw. The ISO appealed for emergency power transactions to get additional megawatts.

Power plant outages have crept up all week. On Wednesday, there were 1,685 Mw unavailable, Thursday saw 1,780 Mw down, and today 2,425 Mw are out.

But thunderstorms rolled into Buffalo and Jamestown, New York, late this morning cooling off parts of that state. New York started shipping about 500 Mw late this morning, Kazin said. Earlier today, the ISO had been notified that no power would be available from New York because of the hot spell in that region.

"It's looking a tad more optimistic," said Kazin. "We'll get through."

Ironically, the heat wave has caused some local distribution outages that helped reduce load on the grid. The high heat and load on the local transmissions lines has caused some equipment to just "melt," he said.

A manhole fire in Boston resulted in 20,000 customers out of service too, he said. But the bulk power system is not in danger of forced outages at this time, he said.

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