Ohio regulators demand audit of power producers
- The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio wants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to audit and verify the generation capacities of the state’s electricity producers because of power outages during the past frigid winter.
- January demand strained the capacities of PJM and Ohio electric suppliers such as American Electric Power Company, leading to a forced outage of 22% of the state’s generating capacity instead of the average 7% winter outage level.
- Eight of the 10 highest winter electricity peak demand loads in PJM’s 87-year history occurred in January, as did the highest peak load ever, 141,846 megawatts on Jan. 7. The 40,000 megawatt outage levels were proof, PUCO said, the generating units are not being properly maintained to meet today's peak demands.
The unprecedented peak demand loads during the frigid winter forced PJM to request conservation measures of customers.
Most of the outages were caused by routine equipment breakdowns, failure of equipment to operate in the cold, and fuel supply issues.
Higher electricity prices were also a problem for PJM due to greater dependence on natural gas, which spiked in price during the cold because of increased demand.
PJM wants to institute a winter-testing requirement but the PUCO wants a type of year-round capability auditing program now in use only by ISO New England Inc., with as-yet unspecified penalties for generators that fail audits.
- Columbus Business First PUCO asks feds to audit power generators following winter of forced outages