MAINE, USA — As extreme cold weather settles into Maine and New England, the system operator of the New England energy grid believes it will still be able to provide normal service to its coverage area.
"We believe we're going to have the resources needed to meet consumer demand at the bulk power level," Matt Kakley, ISO New England spokesperson, said.
ISO New England is the independent system operator that manages the region’s power grid and wholesale electricity markets.
"Our system operators and our forecasters will continue monitoring conditions today, and tomorrow, and every day after that for that matter to make sure that we are taking whatever actions we need to, to maintain that supply and demand balance on the system."
According to Kakley, severe weather is the biggest driver of electricity demand. That means when temperatures drop, more people are turning up the thermostat to stay warm, and it places a bigger strain on the energy grid.
"We're in constant contact with the utilities, with the transmission owners, with power plants. What are they seeing? What are they expecting from their equipment on a day like today? All that being said, we head into this weekend in what we feel is a pretty good position," Kakley said.
ISO New England tracks real-time data on pricing, and what energy resources are being utilized.
While ISO New England anticipates enough power generation to support normal system operations this weekend, if issues arise with power delivery in Maine, it poses challenges for crews looking to address it in the frigid weather.
"When you get down into that low of temperatures, equipment will fail and does fail, and it's really just trying to be ready to address the situation," Adam Desrosiers, vice president of Electric Operations with Central Maine Power said.
Desrosiers said additional crews have been called in to help respond to any outages or emergencies. Line crews will only be able to spend a limited amount of time outside repairing lines due to the cold.
"It's going to be very challenging conditions, and crews are not going to be able to stay out in the cold very long. They'll have to get out in the truck and warm up," Desrosiers said.
With usage expected to surge during the cold spell, electricity rates are expected to increase as well. CMP offers usage alerts to customers, which show usage and cost of electricity used, to help customers monitor how much electricity they're using.