What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

May 31, 2001

Forecast: New York should have enough power this summer — barely
ISO says its updated forecast shows that New York must add more power immediately

New York should have enough energy to avoid blackouts this summer, but it will just "squeak by," and margins in New York City will be "razor-thin," according to an updated forecast by New York's Independent System Operator (ISO).

The ISO said its updated projection, issued May 31, reaffirms how important and urgent it is that New York increase its power-generation capacity.

In its forecast, the ISO said New York should avoid California-like blackouts and other problems this summer. It credited several factors: installation of approximately 400 megawatts of gas turbines in New York City; repairs and improvements to existing facilities; and new demand-response programs put in place by the ISO and utilities that encourage big users to reduce demand during times of peak need.

"While no one can predict every eventuality, we are confident that the world-class reliability of New York's electric system can be maintained without any major disruptions this summer," said William J. Museler, president and CEO of the ISO.

The need for more power plants: Despite this optimistic updated prediction, New York still must expedite the siting of new generation, Museler said.

"Make no mistake about it, New York's electric demand continues to rise and shows little sign of abating. Unless we get some strong support in the way of additional generating capacity and soon demand is going to overwhelm supply and reliability will be at serious risk," said Museler.

Without any new generation added to the system, New York could be almost 2,000 megawatts short of supply within three years, Museler said. Given the 24- to 36-month lead time in building large plants, New York should approve and start building plants immediately, he added.

This call for more generation continues a long series of calls for increased generation that many energy and business groups, including The Business Council, have been voicing for months. The Business Council has argued forcefully that adding more power plants, and expediting the process by which New York sites power plants, is New York's top energy concern.

Capacity this summer: For May through October, New York will need an "installed capacity" of 36,132 megawatts per month. Installed capacity is the total amount of electrical power that power suppliers commit to bidding into New York's market, the ISO said.

For June, 35,955 megawatts of installed capacity have been secured, which will leave a statewide deficit of 177 megawatts, the ISO said. By July, installed capacity will reach 36,240 megawatts, eliminating this deficit; installed capacity will increase to 36,262 megawatts for August through October, the ISO added.

The New York City region's required capacity required for May through October is 8,428 megawatts per month, the ISO said. The city's installed capacity during May has been 8,236 megawatts, 192 megawatts short of this requirement. An installed capacity of 8,734 megawatts has been secured for July, and this figure rises to 8,778.2 megawatts for August throughOctober.

The ISO is an independent not-for-profit entity charged with overseeing New York's electricity grid and its electricity markets.