Power Blackouts Expected in Southern California This Summer - California Energy Agencies Announce Potential Natural Gas Curtailment, Blackouts
On April 5th, 2016, a collection of California energy agencies released a draft report stating there could be 14 days this coming summer during which electrical service interruptions occur due to the limited operations at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. As a result of the natural gas leak that occurred at the facility in October 2015, SoCalGas is prohibited from injecting natural gas into the reservoir until all 114 wells pass safety inspections and testing. The energy agencies, including the California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Independent System Operator (California ISO), Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and SoCalGas, state that natural gas supplies may not meet peak demand without the use of the Aliso Canyon facility. However, consumer groups and utility critics contend that the alleged blackouts are a scare tactic to ensure SoCalGas is allowed to operate the Aliso Canyon facility.
The draft report, titled “Aliso Canyon Action Plan to Preserve Gas and Electric Reliability for the Los Angeles Basin,” proposes 18 mitigation measures to reduce the possibility of electrical service interruptions this summer. Specific mitigation measures include:
Although there is no guarantee that southern California will experience blackouts this summer, residents and businesses in the area should be aware of the potential problems and ready to respond. Business owners with critical operations powered by electricity should be prepared to provide those operations with backup power. Backup generators should be tested and tuned for potential use. Natural-gas fired generators can be converted to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG); however, a permit modification would be required from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Facilities with electrically powered emission control devices should review compliance requirements for periods of start-up, shut-down, and malfunction, and employees should be informed of their duties in the event of a power outage.
Contact Alta to receive information on how to stay operational and compliant during an unscheduled power outage. Call us at 888-608-3010 for further information.
Blog Post by Chris Waller.