California ISO declares holiday power emergency

Reinforcing the air of emergency, the California Independent System Operator Monday declared a Stage 2 emergency, signifying electricity reserves are below 5%. The grid operator appealed for supplemental bids on 3,000 Mw of power. The emergency was in effect even though most federal and state offices and many businesses are closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Demand is projected to peak at 31,138 Mw today and 32,315 Mw Tuesday.


Reinforcing the air of emergency, the California Independent System Operator Monday declared a Stage 2 emergency, signifying electricity reserves are below 5%.

The grid operator appealed for supplemental bids on 3,000 Mw of power. The emergency was in effect even though most federal and state offices and many businesses are closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Demand is projected to peak at 31,138 Mw today and 32,315 Mw Tuesday.

The ISO requested state investor-owned utilities to prepare to cut off interruptible load customers.

Sunday, the grid operator called a Stage 2 emergency for northern California only. The emergency lasted 7-10 p.m. after participation thinned in the ISO real-time market and resources became scarce in the northern portion of the state. The peak demand on the California ISO grid was 27,959 Mw 6:13 p.m. PST.

The Stage 2 emergency gave the California ISO access to emergency resources. Sunday, the grid operator said initiation of interruptible load programs was not necessary.

California is in the midst of a power crisis with a chronic shortage of supply which has helped to send wholesale prices to record levels. Last week the state came perilously close to rolling blackouts.

Clinton administration officials, state officials and representatives of independent power generators and state utilities ended negotiations over the weekend to resolve the crisis. Published reports said Clinton representatives concluded by saying it is now up to California lawmakers and the governor to finalize a plan by Tuesday to stave off bankruptcy for Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a unit of PG&E Corp., and Southern California Edison Co., an Edison International subsidiary.

Tuesday is considered crucial because Wall Street traders and analysts will return to work after the three-day holiday. Financial markets followed the negotiations to evaluate the bankruptcy threat to Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison.

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