Power grid prepares for Hurricane Irene impact

In anticipation of Hurricane Irene, PJM, which operates the power grid for 13 states and Washington, D.C., is tracking the storm as it progresses up the East Coast. Updates on the status of the transmission system grid will be provided through “pjminterconnect” on Twitter.

Here are some key points on preparedness:

  • PJM Interconnection is constantly monitoring the storm track.
  • We are watching closely for the potential for individual nuclear units in the East to be affected by high winds or high water levels. These units may have to reduce their output.
  • Power reserves are expected to be good but could be affected by the hurricane, particularly if units are forced to shut down or reduce output in PJM’s Southern and Mid-Atlantic regions.
  • Individual utilities in PJM are making their own determinations and taking normal storm preparations steps such as activating storm restoration teams and contacting external field crews.
  • A hurricane’s greatest effects on the electric power system typically are on the local distribution systems rather than the high-voltage winds may blow down trees and tree branches that pull down the wires serving neighborhood homes and businesses.
  • Although a storm can affect the transmission system, usually, storm-related power outages result from distribution system damage.
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