Curtis Tate Published

December Weather Strained The Power Grid. Here's What Failed

snow_1.jpg Cecelia Mason

Last month’s winter storm strained the regional power grid that includes West Virginia. The grid operator has identified what went wrong.

West Virginia and 12 other East Coast and Midwest states make up PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest regional transmission operator.

As temperatures plunged into the single digits ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend, PJM came up short on electricity.

It told its member utilities, including Appalachian Power and Mon Power, to ask customers to curb their power usage.

According to a preliminary report from PJM, the strain was mostly a failure of natural gas and coal plants.

Natural gas and coal account for the majority of the power generated in PJM.

PJM’s territory did not experience rolling blackouts like the Tennessee Valley Authority or Duke Energy in North Carolina.

TVA’s and Duke Energy’s problems also were related to failures of natural gas and coal.