Severe drought conditions have limited hydropower utilities in the Pacific Northwest in the generation of electricity, but a matching reduction in customer demand will head off a power shortage problem this winter, according to the North American Electric Reliability Council’s (NERC) “2001/2002 Winter Assessment.”

A similar decrease in demand in California, coupled with improved resources, points to adequate capacity margins throughout the winter in the state that was plagued by electricity problems in 2000.

Although the report mentions the potential for transmission congestion during the course of the season, fuel supplies, inventories, and deliveries are expected to be adequate. In fact, homeowners still reeling from the price of natural gas last winter can look forward to a respite this year, as natural gas storage facilities are currently at levels 20% greater than at the same time last year.

For the full report, visit NERC’s Web site at