PJM Interconnection conducts exercise to gauge response to pipeline outages in winter

Published on December 17, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization (RTO) serving Midwestern and Eastern states, conducted an exercise to test responses to a simulated pipeline outage in winter weather.

The drill was done with Enbridge Texas Eastern Pipeline and gas distribution divisions from UGI Utilities and PSE&G.

The tabletop exercise examined how participants would respond to unexpected natural gas pipeline disruptions during a period of extremely cold weather and high electricity demand. The participants were asked to respond with a focus on problem-solving and provide insights based on their training and understanding of system operations.

“These kinds of exercises are important opportunities for us to build relationships and collaborate on how we can best recover from challenging circumstances,” Michael Bryson, senior vice president of operations at PJM, said. “Any chance to improve our operations is a good thing.”

The results help PJM and gas industry participants evaluate the effectiveness of their communication and information sharing and improve their understanding of gas/electric dependencies.

Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline connects Texas and the Gulf Coast with markets in the northeastern United States, supplying fuel to help meet PJM’s energy and peak-day demands. PJM Interconnection serves Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

UGI Utilities serves approximately 655,000 natural gas customers and 62,000 electric customers in central and eastern Pennsylvania. PSE&G is the largest electric and gas distribution company in New Jersey, serving 1.8 million natural gas customers and 2.3 million electric customers.

“PSE&G has an excellent safety record and is committed to ensuring the continued safety and integrity of our system through a host of measures, including regular response exercises. More than 80 percent of New Jersey households use natural gas as the main source of heat – among the highest use rates in the nation,” Michael Schmid, vice president of asset management and centralized services at PSE&G. “These exercises improve coordination, communications and response strategy, helping us better serve our customers during actual emergencies.”