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Due to unseasonably hot weather on Tuesday, PJM Interconnection says it was forced to order utilities in four states to cut power to some of their customers.

The grid operator, whose territories include 13 states and the District of Columbia, notes the extreme heat led to a new record of 144,370 MW for September peak power use. By comparison, the 2012 September peak demand was 129,959 MW.

PJM says Tuesday's unusual heat, combined with local equipment problems, created emergency conditions in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. According to the grid operator, it had to direct local utilities in those areas to immediately and temporarily shut off electricity to some customers in order to avoid the possibility of an uncontrolled blackout over a larger area that would have affected more people.

On Tuesday, the localized power flow problems required a total load reduction of about 150 MW, and outages ranged from about an hour-and-a-half to eight hours, according to PJM spokesperson Ray Dotter. He adds that PJM used 706 MW of demand response.

"Extreme heat in the western region of PJM resulted in record demand for September at a time when many power plants and some transmission lines were off for seasonal maintenance," says Terry Boston, PJM CEO. "Our only option to prevent a potential equipment overload and failures that would cause a much bigger interruption was to call for emergency relief in the form of controlled outages."

On Wednesday, Dotter says that 5,949 MW of demand response was deployed for supply and demand balance, the largest amount PJM has ever deployed. Dotter notes that there was a peak demand of 142,071 MW yesterday and that there were no transmission issues that affected customers.

"Generation performance and demand response played significant roles in balancing the supply and demand on the grid during unusual conditions this week," says Andy Ott, PJM executive vice president, markets. "PJM continues to see the value and success of demand response participating in PJM markets."


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