New England poised for energy-use record
The Independent System Operator of New England, which manages the region's electricity grid from control centers in Holyoke, Mass., is predicting peak demand of 27,600 megawatts, after pumping 26,210 megawatts into the grid on Tuesday and 26,500 on Wednesday.
As the hot and humid conditions persist, experts say, tolerance begins to decline and people use more energy than ever to stay comfortable.
"As the heat continues to build, electricity demand is expected to increase significantly, which is likely to result in tight system conditions, said Vasmi Chadalavada, vice president and chief operating office at ISO New England. "The ISO is asking consumers to voluntarily conserve as a precautionary step to help manage system conditions."
The majority of New England's power plants are now fueled by natural gas, which has become the power supply of choice given its lower price and cleaner burning attributes. In the winter, power plants compete with regulated utilities that provide natural gas to heat homes. The utilities have guaranteed contracts that ensure them their share of the limited supply, thus constraining the amount needed for power plants.
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