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Efficiency Seen Cutting Electricity Demand in Northeast

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Improved energy efficiency and conservation are expected to help reduce electricity demand this summer in the northeastern United States and several Canadian provinces, a group that promotes power reliability said in an annual assessment due to be released on Tuesday.

The region, which includes the six New England states, New York state, Ontario, Qubec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, will have an adequate supply of electricity this summer, the Northeast Power Coordinating Council said. More than 55 million people live in the region, the energy group said.

Demand is expected to be 0.3 percent lower than the forecast for the summer of 2012 and the region is expected to have about the same amount of generating resources as compared with the peak period in the summer of 2012.

One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes.

The lower demand is expected despite an improving economy, which typically leads to greater electricity use at factories and offices open for business.

The system’s reliability is improved due to the return of a nuclear generating unit in New Brunswick that had been off-line for several years, the planned addition of a 660-megawatt transmission line between Manhattan and New Jersey, and added transmission lines in New England.
New England has added 155 megawatts of wind generating capacity since the summer of 2012.

The assessment came with a warning: Operating procedures are available to maintain power in the unlikely event that a combination of severe conditions _ a power outage and delayed transmission projects _ occur at the same time as a prolonged heat wave with high humidity that keeps air conditioners running nearly non-stop.

Edward Schwerdt, president of the power coordinating council, said the assessment “includes the consideration of unexpected and random events.”

In response to extreme conditions, consumers could be asked to curtail energy use or power could be brought in from neighboring regions.

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