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Biggest US electrical grid operator issues energy emergency alert as temperatures soar

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Biggest US electrical grid operator issues energy emergency alert as temperatures soar

The largest electrical grid operator in the U.S. has issued an emergency energy alert for Thursday as customers look to stay cool in sweltering temperatures gripping parts of the country.

PJM Interconnection issued two alerts as part of its early notification system that conditions might require the use of emergency procedures during the sweeping heat wave and that all generating resources are online or have been scheduled, PJM told Fox Digital in an email Thursday morning.

“PJM has issued this series of alerts to help prepare generators for the onset of intense heat, acting conservatively in light of recent extreme weather events that have occurred within the region and across the country,” the statement said.

PJM emphasized that while there are no emergencies or emergency actions at this time, the operator is “prepared and ready” should the extreme weather affect its system.

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Electrical transmission towers at a Pacific Gas and Electric substation in Vacaville, California, on Sept. 6, 2022. Richard Verduzco, right, keeps cool on his porch during a heat wave in Phoenix on July 15, 2023. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Brandon Bell/Getty Images / Getty Images)

PJM said it served a preliminary peak load of approximately 138,000 megawatts (MW) on Wednesday.

For Thursday, PJM said it is forecasting a peak of around 153,000 MW, with 154,000 MW forecast for Friday. By comparison, PJM said that peak demand last year reached approximately 149,000 MW.

Pennsylvania-based PJM serves all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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Power lines out of the Handley Generating Station in Texas

The energy alerts came ahead of even hotter temperatures forecast for Thursday through the weekend. (Yffy Yossifor/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images, File / Getty Images)

July is set to become the hottest month on record around the world, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

In the U.S., the monthlong heat wave blasting the Southwest is showing no signs of letting up, with more than 128 million Americans under some kind of heat advisory Thursday.

Parts of the central U.S. and into the Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England were also expected to see “dangerous heat” build through the weekend, the National Weather Service said.

Air conditioning tech works on unit in Austin, Texas

AC Tech Romero repairs an air conditioning unit in Austin, Texas, on July 10, 2023. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Heat index values around Raleigh, North Carolina, were forecast to reach the low 100s on Thursday, with even warmer conditions expected on Friday through the weekend, according to NWS in Raleigh.

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In State College, Pennsylvania, the agency said “some of the hottest temperatures of the summer” were expected in the area Thursday, along with humidity that will make temperatures feel as high as 105 degrees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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