This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 21, 2002

U.S. Power Systems Challenged by Heat and Transmission Problems

A heat wave continued to bring bad news to utilities in mid-August, pushing the electricity grid in the Mid-Atlantic states to record levels, according to grid operator PJM Interconnection. The PJM service area, which includes seven states and the District of Columbia, hit a record demand of 64,300 megawatts, beating a record set just two weeks before. See the PJM Interconnection press release (PDF 38 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

ISO New England, which operates the electric grid in New England, also experienced a record demand of 25,524 megawatts on the same day. See the ISO New England Web site.

The heat wave had a strong impact on New York City, where the New York Power Authority had to pay customers to reduce demand three days in a row last week. See the press releases for August 13th through 15th on the NYPA Web site.

Also hit hard was energy-strapped Long Island, where the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) said approximately 18,000 customers experienced outages last weekend, with the peak number at one time being 9,426 customers at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 16th. Due to increasing concerns about high power demand, the utility asked DOE to step in and order the controversial 300-megawatt Cross Sound Cable to be energized when power emergencies warranted it. Concerns about the placement of the cable in Long Island Sound have prevented its use. On August 16th, DOE issued the emergency order for the cable to be energized, thereby opening a new path for power to flow from Connecticut to Long Island. See the LIPA press releases and the DOE press release.