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31 May 2020 - telegram
ISO New England says region’s power grid ready for demand uncertainty

Though they are planning for fluctuations in demand from having more people working from home this summer, power grid operators predict a sufficient supply of electricity to meet demand as the hotter months approach.

ISO New England said it has seen a 3% to 5% reduction in consumer electricity demand during the COVID-19 pandemic but that it is uncertain just how demand will be affected this summer as more people work from home instead of in office buildings.

Electricity demand in New England is highest in the summer, when residents and businesses turn to air conditioning to beat the heat and humidity.

“We expect the pandemic to continue to affect the way consumers use energy throughout the summer, though the exact changes are impossible to predict due to uncertainty regarding social distancing measures and economic activity,” said Vamsi Chadalavada, ISO-NE’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “New England’s power system is able to account for and respond to this uncertainty.”

ISO-NE last week forecast that demand this summer will peak at 25,125 megawatts under typical weather conditions and that extreme summer weather, like an extended heat wave, could push demand up to 27,084 MW. The grid operator said that more than 33,000 MW of capacity is expected to be available to meet demand.

Last summer’s peak came on July 30 when demand hit 24,004 MW, ISO-NE said. The all-time record for peak demand was set on Aug. 2, 2006, when demand reached 28,130 MW after a prolonged heat wave.