The U.S. power grid is straining to keep Americans warm while record-breaking cold temperatures fall around the country, Bloomberg reports.
Power plants in New England are struggling to maintain a steady supply of fuel that keeps pace with the amount they are burning. A small pipeline capacity and increased demand are working together to limit some power plants’ production.
“As oil inventories are depleted, replenishment of these fuels will be important given the uncertainty around weather and future fuel demands for the remaining two months of the winter period,” ISO New England Inc., the region’s grid operator, Spokeswoman Marcia Blomberg told Bloomberg in an email Tuesday.
The area experienced fuel shortages in August and September after Hurricane Harvey shut down gulf coast refineries and major pipelines to the East Coast. The majority of natural gas and oil production is in the western U.S., leaving the East Coast dependent on fuel from other areas. If any event happens that disrupts pipelines or causes demand to exceed pipelines’ capacity to transport fuel, shortages follow.
Americans have burned a record amount of natural gas to stave off the cold temperatures. The country burned more than 143 billion cubic feet of gas New Year’s Day, while gas prices peaked at the highest price in a month, according to PointLogic Energy, a company that measures natural gas usage across the U.S.
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