Power Cutoffs Ordered in Northeast
(May 22, 1996) – Unusually hot weather forced several electric utilities in the Northeast United States to cut power to customers who had agreed to power interruptions in return for lower rates and to reduce voltage by 5 to 8 percent in order to protect reserve margins.
Affected utilities included Con Edison, PP&L, Northeast Utilities, Public Service Enterprise Group and the New England Power Pool.
The early season heat wave caught the utilities by surprise. Several large generating stations were off-line for planned maintenance. The situation was made worse by the recent forced idling of the Millstone nuclear plants after allegations of violations of license conditions in relation to refueling operations.
SMUD Cancels Energy Projects
(May 15, 1996) – The Sacramento Municipal Utility District announced the cancellation of a cogeneration project and a wind power project involving construction of 150 wind turbines. SMUD has filed a lawsuit with the developer of the cogeneration project.
The wind power project was cancelled after concerns surfaced regarding the reliability of the Kenetech Windpower 33 M wind turbines. Questions about the financial condition of the supplier also surfaced after a California Public Utilities Commission decision that some observers report cost the company as much as $500 million in new business.
SMUD has a history of strong support for alternative energy sources.
Iraq Agrees to UN Oil Deal
(May 20, 1996) – With its economy in tatters, Iraq finally agreed to the conditions imposed by the UN on the sale of $2 billion dollars worth of oil every six months. At current prices, reaching that sales level would require the production of approximately 600,000 barrels of oil per day.
Industry experts predict that it will take Iraq less than two months to reach this level of production for export, despite a continuing embargo on certain technical assistance.
There is some concern in oil markets that this additional supply will have a negative effect on world oil prices, but traders shrugged off the announcement of the deal and bid oil prices higher the next trading day. Some analysts report that the pending sale of Iraqi oil had already been figured into the market price.