May 9, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 2:26 pm

ISO concerned over summer electricity reliability

Regional electric grid administrator ISO New England is concerned uncertain supplies of natural gas will lead to power reliability concerns over the summer, when electricity demand is at its highest.

The reliability concerns focus on the Northeast Massachusetts/Greater Boston area, the heaviest load center in New England.

ISO said under normal conditions the entire grid should have adequate electricity supply. However, if there is extreme hot weather and a power generator unexpected goes offline, the Greater Boston area could have reliability problems. This potential problem is predicated on the reduced and uncertain supply of liquefied natural gas for natural gas power plants in the region.

For the summer, ISO forecasts demand could peak at 27,400 megawatts, which could grow to 29,620 megawatts in an extended heat wave of 95 degrees or higher. New England has 32,800 megawatts of total electricity capacity, including generators, demand resources and imports from other areas.

The high electricity demand in the summer is based on homes and businesses running air conditioners when the temperature spikes.

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