(Host) New England energy officials say it may be difficult to meet the demand for electricity in northwestern Vermont this summer. Conservation measures and rolling brown outs may be necessary if the region experiences unusually hot weather.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) ISO New England, the operator of the region’s bulk power system, announced on Wednesday that it believes it will be able to meet the demand for electricity throughout most of the region. But there is a trouble spot: the northwestern part of Vermont.
The problem exists because of the failure of a key piece of equipment. The result is the region may not have enough electricity if a period of very warm weather occurs this summer. Stephen Whitley is a senior vice president for ISO New England:
(Whitley) “A transmission line that transports power from New York to Vermont recently failed and repairs aren’t expected to be finished in time for the summer peak demand. This development means power supplies could be tight in the event of extended hot weather, and makes the entire region more vulnerable to power outage if another line goes down or a power plant that feeds the region unexpectedly goes offline.”
(Kinzel) Whitley says his organization will implement conservation programs if the region experiences a stretch of hot humid weather this summer. He says rolling brown outs may be needed if these initial efforts are not successful in reducing demand:
(Whitley) “We will have to be prepared for those rotating black outs that you talk about. We call that ‘beater rotation.’ Our operators work with the local utilities to do that when it’s necessary. So we hope we don’t have to do that, but we’ll be prepared to do it if necessary to protect the whole region.”
(Kinzel) Whitley says the surge in demand in this region during the summer months is being fueled by an increased use of air conditioning in many homes:
(Whitley) “With the summer heat waves we’ve been having the last few years, it’s an area of growing air conditioning demand. So a lot of homes have expanded and added air conditioning and a lot of new homes have been added with air conditioning. So it’s become a real summer problem.”
(Kinzel) Whitley says the supply problems in northwestern Vermont highlight the need to complete construction of an upgrade of transmission lines from West Rutland to Burlington by the end of 2007.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.