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Lawmakers Hear What Went Wrong With The Grid Last Month

Senate President Craig Blair stands at the podium of the West Virginia Senate on Jan. 26, 2023.
The Senate chamber on Jan. 26, 2023.
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

State lawmakers got more information Thursday about the electric power grid problems during Christmas weekend.

The regional transmission operator that includes West Virginia, 12 other states and the District of Columbia experienced high demand and high generation failures from Dec. 23-25.

That’s what Asim Haque, vice president of state policy and member services for PJM Interconnection, told members of the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee.

About 70 percent of the generation failures in PJM were at natural gas plants, and 16 percent at coal plants, he said.

“Various reasons are being reported,” Haque said. “We don’t have them in full. Fuel supply, frozen equipment and frozen facilities.”

No rotating or rolling outages occurred in PJM, Haque said, but electric utilities did ask their customers to conserve power.

The sharp drop in temperatures last month did cause Tennessee Valley Authority and Duke Energy customers in North Carolina to lose power.

PJM will release a more detailed report on the December event in April.