Near blackouts prompt LIPA to speed up investments

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 27, 2001 – Prompted by near blackouts Thursday, New York’s Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) said it will accelerate a program to bring more power into its service territory.

Richard M. Kessel, chairman of the state-owned utility serving 1.1 million customers from Queens, New York City to Montauk, said LIPA had less than 100 Mw in reserve to meet projected demand Thursday. He warned of future possible outages.

Unless LIPA increases available resources significantly by next summer, “we’ll have an energy supply shortage that could mean rolling blackouts during sustained heat waves,” Kessel said.

LIPA set a new aggregate summer 2001 peak record of 4,614 Mw. With 4,600 Mw of firm supply available at peak, LIPA had only 150 Mw between LIPA’s firm supply and LIPA customer demand, Kessel said.

The previous record of 4,590 Mw was set July 6, 1999.

“Demand shot up very quickly as the temperature and humidity rose sharply yesterday morning,” Kessel said. He said LIPA activated for the first time a program that allows the utility to cycle 2,500 central home air conditioning units via the Internet.

Without the program and other conservations measures, demand would have equaled or exceeded supply, Kessel said.. He noted a sustained multiday heart wave similar to the July 1999 heat storm would have produced even higher electric demand on Long Island.

Had Long Island experienced the same 102௿½ F. temperature and high humidity Thursday, aggregate demand could have soared to 5,025 Mw, which would have exceeded LIPA’s firm supply by 425 Mw, Kessel said.

When demands jumps 100-500 Mw-hr in less than 1 1/2 hr, conservation and energy efficiency alone will not keep the lights on during a heat wave, Kessel said.

Kessel said that as a result of Thursday close call he would order immediate acceleration of LIPA’s three pronged energy plan. He said that LIPA will:

“- Accelerate spending on clean energy initiative programs aimed at conservation and energy efficiency efforts for next year by $5 million.

“- Review in cooperation with the Natural Resources Defense Council and KeySpan Corp., Brooklyn, NY, whether or not additional repowering could be done at LI generation facilities.

“- Seek the expeditious review and approval of the new Cross-Sound Project cable route from New Haven to Shoreham, while exploring other cable links to off-island resources.

“- Seek sites for several additional turbines that would augment the projects already being planned for Far Rockaway, Glenwood Landing, and Shoreham for next summer.

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