PMA: Concern Grows Over Power Supply

Member Group : PA Manufacturers' Assn.

Business Advocates Express Concern in the Wake of Peak Power Usage Record

Record demand for electricity has raised concerns in the business community over the adequacy of the region’s power supply and the potential for price spikes.

PJM Interconnection, which operates the largest U.S. power grid, said recently that demand for power set a record for the month of November due to the cold weather. Peak demand reached 121,987 megawatts, topping the 114,699 mark set last November.

"We are concerned that proposed federal emission standards will create power shortages and increase the cost of the power that is available," said David Taylor, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association. "We saw that exact scenario last winter, which threatened reliability and caused huge price increases. If we fail to learn from our experience, shame on us."

Taylor noted that while it is unseasonably cold weather that is driving the increased demand, the closing of several large coal-fired generating units in recent years has led to wild price fluctuations. The proposed carbon emission standards will force additional units to close, and other generating sources are not able to pick up the slack.

Coal is the most affordable power source, and the ability to transport and stockpile coal at generating units makes it a very reliable source as well, noted Taylor.

"We need to re-think the proposed emission standards and take the consequences into consideration," Taylor said. "Businesses require an affordable, reliable source of energy. Jobs and economic vitality are at stake."