More power resources brought on to handle demand ahead of cold night in New England

Sub-freezing wind chill drives heating demand across New England

To handle the demand for heat with sub-freezing wind chills in parts of New England, the organization that oversees the region's power systems says additional resources were brought on to prevent power outages.

Early this week, arctic air pushing into the Northeast dropped temperatures and prompted wind chill advisories from the National Weather Service through Tuesday afternoon.

The New England nonprofit power authority issued an operational alert Tuesday afternoon saying the cold weather was "creating the potential for tight operating conditions" across the power grid.

With the wind chill Tuesday afternoon, Boston had a 0-degree wind chill and Caribou, Maine had a wind chill that reads 28 below zero. Sub-freezing wind chills will continue into the night, driving the need for heat across the region.

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The ISO New England is the nonprofit organization overseeing the power grid across Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and most of Maine. The corporation issues daily forecasts that include predicted usage and coordinates the flow of electricity over the region's systems.

The ISO New England issues daily system demand forecasts. On Tuesday, the nonprofit predicted a peak of 20,220 MW. Real-time data shows the peak early Tuesday evening hit 19,788 MW.

According to ISO New England, natural gas was the top energy source across New England with 42%, followed by nuclear and oil.

Widespread power outages were not reported by Tuesday evening. 

By email, a spokesperson for ISO New England said the operational alert was issued "because today’s cold weather caused unexpected outages at several generating resources and transmission lines."

ISO New England called on resources to replace the unexpected outages.

"These alerts are not emergency actions, but rather are designed to notify the region and resources owners that conditions may be tight on the power system and emergency action may be needed if conditions worsen," Spokesperson Matt Kakley wrote.

The peak consumer power demand across the New England area was expected between 5 and 6 p.m. The ISO New England said enough resources would be online to meet the evening demand.