PECO is shutting off power to selected institutional customers this afternoon as it races to cope with the highest customer demand it has ever experienced.
PECO spokesperson Ben Armstrong said this afternoon that the company expected to set a new record for power usage today, just one day after breaking a record that had previously stood for almost five years. PECO customers used 8,943 megawatts of power yesterday, eclipsing the previous record of 8,932 megawatts set on August 3, 2006.
"We already know customers will be setting [another] new record today, but we won't have that number until tomorrow," Armstrong said.
Armstrong said that PJM Interconnection, the Lower Providence-based operator of the regional electrical grid, has called for "load management measures" to be implemented across the mid-Atlantic region, encompassing PECO and many other electrical utilities.
That means customers who have volunteered to have their power interrupted during periods of high demand will be called upon to do so.
"Some customers are signed up to be interruptible customers. They receive a reduced rate during the year [in exchange] for this ability. They're compensated for the ability to cycle off power during peak demand periods," Armstrong said.
Armstrong said the customers in the program were large customers such as businesses and institutions, and that residential customers would not be called upon to have their power cut.
In Limerick, the Spring Valley Branch of the Freedom Valley YMCA was informed shortly after noon Friday that power would be cut to some of the public school buildings where summer day camps are being held. Parents were asked to pick up their children before 2:00pm.
Armstrong said PECO was able to handle the load.
"Overall, PECO's system is performing very well under the extreme temperatures and extreme customer demand," Armstrong said.