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Weekend Cold Put a Strain on Electrical Infrastructure, Forcing Residents of Philadelphia and New Jersey to Save Energy

PAOLI (KYW Newsradio) – More than 30 people were killed by the holiday weekend’s winter storm across the country.

While considerable snowfall was avoided in the Philadelphia area, the chilly weather nonetheless put a strain on the region’s electrical infrastructure.

Weekend cold strained power grids; people in Philly area, NJ had to conserve energy

There were reports of around 25,000 New Jersey residents losing power during peak time, in addition to the over 150,000 PECO customers who were reportedly affected.
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According to Susan Buehler, PJM Interconnection’s chief communications officer in Valley Forge, “when the winter storm brought in historic low temperatures, demand on the system was higher.” Companies such as PECO in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and 10 other states (including DC) rely on the regional transmission organisation to handle their high-voltage power lines.

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The power plants were “going offline” or “unable to operate correctly,” and there were problems with the supply chain and gas availability.

Therefore, some households in our region experienced power interruptions and flickering over the holiday weekend. PJM asked customers to cut back on their electricity use until 10:00 a.m. on Christmas morning. Apparently, according to Buehler, the plan was successful.

Weekend cold strained power grids; people in Philly area, NJ had to conserve energy

That said, we did detect a change. We were able to operate the grid more smoothly as a result of the load levelling down,” she explained. As a result of “people stepping up,” no additional systemic actions were required After reviewing the situation in Pennsylvania, PJM determined that no more emergency actions were necessary.

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PECO informed KYW Newsradio that about 148,000 customers were affected, but that electricity was restored to nearly all of them within 24 hours.

According to Buehler, their peak demand is often in the summer, but the last time it was this high was in January of 2014. There shouldn’t be any more problems like this for the rest of the season.

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Marissa Figgs
I write picture books, for middle grade, and young adults, some of which have won prizes, been filmed, or become bestsellers. I've ghostwritten for Pixar and developed teen work for Alloy Entertainment. I think heartfelt writing is the finest. It doesn't have to be personal, but it must be visceral. You want them riveted from the first word, page, or sentence, no matter how painful or unpleasant, and that's my expertise.
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