Eastern Utilities Record One-Day High Gas, Power Send-Outs
Real winter made a brief appearance in the East early last week as several major eastern utilities reported setting some new gas and power send-out records on Monday, Dec. 20. Consolidated Edison (ConEd) pinpointed the average temperature in its New York City area over a 24-hour period last Monday at 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
That was cold enough for ConEd to set a new record for natural gas use for the month of December. Its send-out for the 24-hour period was 860,841 Dth or about 860.8 MMcf. That topped the record for the month set Dec. 3, 2002 of 797,805 Dth (797.8 MMcf).
PECO Energy in Pennsylvania also contended with whipping winds and temperatures only in the teens. The amount of natural gas used by PECO's suburban Philadelphia customers last Monday was the second highest ever. PECO's gas send-out was 700.3 MMcf. The only day with greater gas consumption for PECO was Jan. 18, 2000, when usage jumped to 718.3 MMcf.
ConEd also set a record for a winter season (December through February) peak power load at 6 p.m. on the 20th when 8,962 MW of electric power were used. The previous record was Jan. 15, 2004 when 8,760 MW were used, also at 6 p.m. on that day. ConEd serves 3.1 million electric customers in New York City and Westchester County. Eight of the company's 10 highest days of winter peak electricity demand -- the greatest amount of energy being used at a given moment -- were registered in 2004.
The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), reported that an all-time winter peak electric load of 25,540 MW throughout New York was set on Monday, Dec. 20.
On the same day, one day before the official start of winter, PECO delivered 137.7 million kWh of electricity in the Philadelphia area, setting a new winter peak for electric demand at 7 p.m. The demand for electricity peaked at an estimated 6,776 MW, almost 400 MW or 6% more than the highest level for last winter.
A little further south, Dominion met an unofficial record winter one-hour peak demand from its Virginia and North Carolina electricity customers on the same day.
Heating systems kicked into high gear last Sunday and Monday as temperatures plummeted into the teens across Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Customers demanded an estimated 16,542 MW of electricity from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday, easily surpassing the old mark of 16,133 MW set Jan. 23, 2003, Dominion said. The Dominion all-time record peak demand is 17,084 MW set July 29, 2002.
But the course of cold weather in the East, the largest winter gas and power market, has been a bumpy one. On Tuesday, Dec. 21, the first official day of winter, temperatures started rising again; by Thursday it was in the balmy 50s and raining with predictions for Christmas Day to go back down below the 30s again.
PECO Energy, a subsidiary of Exelon Corp., serves 1.5 million electric and 460,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania. In 2003, its sales exceeded 36,753 gWh of electricity and 92.3 Bcf of natural gas.
Dominion has an energy portfolio of about 25,500 MW of generation and serves retail energy customers in eight states.