COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov. 30, 2007... With the Southeast in the midst of an historic drought, SCE&G is developing contingency plans to moderate impacts on its generation facilities should the drought continue through 2008.
“The drought has had minimal impact on our power plant operations thus far, “ said Kevin Marsh, president of SCE&G. “However, if the drought continues at its current severity level into next year, it could potentially present us with operational challenges.”
Most generation facilities require water to cool critical plant components. Lakes and rivers often supply the source of this water. Persistent drought conditions can impact generation when water levels become too low for intake or water temperatures become too warm to meet environmental and operational regulations.
SCE&G’s drought contingency planning involves evaluating impacts on the company’s generation facilities, and modeling various drought scenarios to help plan for the future.
In addition, SCE&G is working with neighboring utilities to monitor drought impacts on utility operations throughout the region. Utilities coordinate the operation of their systems to support the reliability of each utility’s service area, as well as the stability of the power grid for the entire region.
In September, the Drought Response Committee, under the direction of the State Climatology Office, upgraded the drought level from moderate to severe for all counties except Beaufort and Jasper. Drought levels are declared in four stages – incipient, moderate, severe and extreme.
“Like most states in the Southeast, we really need rain,” continued Marsh. “If we have normal weather and rainfall in the region this winter, our system reliability should be fine. We’ll continue to monitor conditions and take appropriate action to protect the reliability of our system. We’re planning for a range of contingencies and will keep the public informed as conditions evolve.”
SCE&G will issue regular reports on the status of generation impacts through the duration of the drought and will make them available on its website at http://www.sceg.com/drought.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 633,000 customers in 26 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 301,000 customers in 34 counties in the state. Information about SCE&G is available on the company’s web site at www.sceg.com.