Distributed Generation. California opened a rulemaking proceeding to consider regulatory reforms in electricity distribution service, with a possible focus on distributed...
Nice Try!American Gas Association president and CEO Michael Baly's response to my article ("Electric Reliability: How PJM Tripped on Gas-fired Plants," May 1, 1995) concerning the January 19, 1994, rolling blackouts in the PJM power pool is damage control that fails. Here are the facts that Mr. Baly either ignores or distorts:
Forty percent of PJM's coal generation did not operate during the rolling blackouts. At least 80 percent of PJM's total generation where gas was the primary or sole fuel did not operate when needed. Virtually 100 percent of PJM's gas generation that was gas-only capacity and supplied with interruptible gas contracts did not operate.
Neither coal nor gas plants operated particularly well on that day, but the performance of gas plants was much worse. Indeed, if the plants that used gas as their sole or primary source had even matched the weak performance of the coal plants, rolling blackouts would probably not have occurred.
Finally, Mr. Baly suggests that the real blame lies with the plant operators' use of interruptible supply contracts. I share his apparent concern about the reliability of generation plant supplied by interruptible gas. However, Mr. Baly should know that when I suggest requiring firm gas contracts with electric utilities, I am repeatedly told that firm gas contracts would make their gas plants uneconomic or uncompetitive.
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
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