ECAR is the East Central Area Reliability Coordination Agreement region. It includes parts of Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and all of Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia.

MAAC is the Mid-Atlantic Area Council reliability region. It includes parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and all of Delaware, New Jersey and Washington DC.

SERC is the Southeastern Electric Reliability Council region. It includes parts of Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi, and all of the rest of the Southeastern States.

Generating Capacity is for summer months and is generally less than maximum capacity, particularly for gas turbine generators. Since all generators are seldom available at the same time, especially given that power plant construction peaked over 20 years ago, this value is somewhat overstated.

Peak Demand is non coincident summer peak demand for electricity on all the utilities in the region. Since all utilities in one or more regions do not typically peak at precisely the same time, and hence can help one another satisfy peak demand, this value is somewhat overstated. However in the last decade many utilities in the East have shifted from having maximum peak in winter to having it in summer. Thus the ability to help one another satisfy summer peak is greatly diminished.

Margin or Margin of Reliability is the difference between capacity and peak demand. It is often expressed as a percentage, with 20% deemed desirable to meet a surge in demand. The charts indicate that there is a significant risk of diminishing margin, or even of running out or margin altogether. The latter would entail either rationing of demand or a blackout, in other words a capacity crisis.

Extrapolated demand growth is based on the last period of record. This is generally higher than would be an extrapolation of the entire period shown and hence is conservative. The utilities on the other hand have adopted extremely low projections of demand growth, based not on conservation but on equally low projections of economic growth in the regions. These low projections are inconsistent with the pattern of demand growth for the last 50 years. Chart ? is typical of the drop off in projected annual demand growth rates.

Planned capacity includes capacity additions reported by the utilities in the region as of 1992. This does not include capacity retirements and may or may not include additions by non utility generators (NUGs). However, since passage of the Energy Policy Act in October 1992 utilities have scaled back both their own capacity addition plans and their NUG contracts. Thus the planned additions shown on the margin charts, inadequate though they be for covering possible demand growth, are overly optimistic. In short the threat of a capacity crisis in the near term is very real.

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