ISO New England restates it projects sufficient summer electricity supplies

HOLYOKE, Mass., May 17, 2001 — ISO New England Inc., the operator of the region's bulk electric power grid, today reiterated that there should be a sufficient supply of electricity to meet New England's energy needs this summer.

A report released Tuesday by North American Electric Reliability Council did not take into account power provided by a firm agreement with Hydro-Quebec in Canada. At least 1,500 megawatts of electricity is typically available from Hydro-Quebec.

Last month, ISO New England released its Summer 2001 forecast concluding that despite projected record-setting demand, New England should not face rolling blackouts. ISO New England warned that extremely hot days or an extended heat wave could require the implementation of conservation measures.

"ISO New England is forecasting an adequate supply of electricity for the New England region this summer," Stephen G. Whitley, ISO New England's Vice President of System Operations, said. "New England does not face the supply problems that are at the root of the crisis in California. Because of the addition of several new power plants throughout the New England region over the past two years, the growth in supply is outpacing the growth in demand."

There may be a few days this summer - during periods of very hot and humid weather - when customers could be asked to enact temporary energy conservation measures during peak demand hours to reduce demand on the region's electrical supply system. Peak demand usually occurs during weekday afternoons in the midst of a heat wave when air-conditioning usage is at its highest.

With 1,000 MW of new electric generation added since June 2000, and another 1,600 MW expected to be on-line this summer, New England projects a reserve margin of almost 19%, which is higher than most other areas of the country. The grid is operated with a built-in operating reserve margin to assure that adequate resources are available to cover unexpected power plant or transmission system outages.

Formed in 1997, ISO New England is a not-for-profit, private corporation that operates the region's bulk power grid - more than 330 generators connected by 8,000 miles of high voltage transmission lines. Based in Holyoke, ISO New England also administers the wholesale electricity marketplace for the region.

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