March 1, 2024

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NRECA’s Matheson: NERC Assessment ‘Especially Dire Warning’ of Persistent Reliability Threats

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NRECA’s Matheson: NERC Assessment ‘Especially Dire Warning’ of Persistent Reliability Threats

ARLINGTON, Va. – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson today issued the following statement after the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) summer 2023 reliability assessment.

“This report is an especially dire warning that America’s ability to keep the lights on has been jeopardized,” Matheson said. “That’s unacceptable. The decisions we make today determine whether utilities across the nation have the resources to power the American economy tomorrow. Federal policies must recognize the compromised reliability reality facing the nation before it’s too late.

“American families and businesses expect the lights to stay on at a cost they can afford. But that’s no longer a guarantee. Nine states saw rolling blackouts last December as the demand for electricity exceeded available supply. And proposals like last week’s EPA power plant rule will greatly compound the problem. Absent a major shift in state and federal energy policy, this is the reality we will face for years to come. It’s vital that policymakers work to prioritize reliability in every energy policy discussion.”

Five issues are currently impacting the reliable delivery of electricity across the nation. They include:

  • Increasing demand for electricity as other sectors of the economy are electrified.
  • Decreasing electricity supply due to the disorderly retirement and insufficient replacement of existing generation.
  • Permitting delays that prevent new electric infrastructure from being built and connected to the grid.
  • Supply chain challenges.
  • Problems with natural gas availability.

The 2023 NERC summer reliability assessment is just the latest in a series of alarming reminders about the new electric reliability challenges facing the nation:

  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Earlier this month, several FERC Commissioners warned the Senate of threats to reliable electricity. “I think the United States is heading for a very catastrophic situation in terms of reliability,” Commissioner Mark Christie said.
  • PJM Interconnection: In March, PJM CEO Manu Asthana said that the regional transmission organization needed to slow the pace of generation retirements to avoid reliability problems by the end of the decade. “I think the math is pretty straightforward,” Asthana said.

    The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.

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